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'Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.' — Amit Ray
Blog bruce powell

Mindfulness, Meditation and Me

There was a time when I was stupidly busy. 80 hours per week, anaesthetising patients, and leading DonateLife in Western Australia. I barely had time for my target of 400km per week, riding my bike.

It’s amazing how easy it is to fall into crazy work-life balances, and I know now that my family wondered where it would all end.

I only ever used to stop to catch my breath at the top of King’s Park during a 5 am ‘hills- session’, or to grab another espresso between operations at 8 pm later that same day.

How often do any of us turn to new ideas, new experiences, when we are fully occupied by the life that we already lead.

It was never going to last, and I wasn’t looking for a solution.

I didn’t see the crash coming.

On the 16th of September 2018, a near-fatal cycling accident, head-on into a lamppost at 65 km/h, ended the life that I knew. I broke my neck, my back, my face and was left with brain injuries that changed who I was.

I couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t focus, couldn’t control my emotions. Trying to tame the turmoil inside me left me mentally shot. I might be so exhausted that I couldn’t find my way home from yet another hospital appointment.

My mind would run amok with ideas, emotions, until it overheated and shut down.

I knew that I was supposed to take breaks, rest regularly. I already knew from painful experience, that once my brain fatigued, it might take a whole day before I could just understand the TV or be sociable with my family.

“Take breaks”? Yeah right!! Who even does that?

Who steps off life’s hectic platform, just to take a moment of peace? My unrelenting drive and resilience had been my armour, my superpower and yet now, it was my Achilles heel.

I needed new ideas about how to re-focus, accept my limitations, and find peace.

The best idea I ever had, after another crippling brain shutdown, was to sign up for a breakfast seminar hosted by Mindful Meditation Australia (MMA). I figured it would at least be a good feed and decent coffee. I hoped that I might meet interesting people to talk to.

All the above was true.

I concentrated as best I could to the seminar’s conversation, and met the boss, Brayden for coffee the next day. He was disarmingly calm and relaxed. Not my kind of guy really. But he did offer some wisdom and hope.

We shared ideas about mental and emotional well-being. He offered ideas upon techniques that might help me, as they have helped MMA’s school kids and health workers alike.

I have relished the peace and tranquillity that I found in those excellent sessions. Sure, it’s not a miracle cure for me. My brain has rewired as best it can, but I will always need my own place to rest and take a deep breath.

Meditation and mindfulness have helped me to restart a new life and I would thoroughly recommend others attend a session and give it a go.

I can’t say what it might offer you, since each of us is so wonderfully different. I can only say that it has helped me rediscover myself.

I’m not sure what ‘ambassador’ really means. I’m not very good at meditation and I still rage against my own limitations. But I also find times of calm, empathy, and peace.

I like that place.

Give it a go.

Take a deep breath now and relax into it.