A MiMster Mum

One of our top fundraisers last year, Carmen Hawker got her mum Sue to be Mindful in May with her this year. As a result, Sue had a ‘Ah-ha!’ moment that many of you may relate to or find triggers your own. She’s been kind enough to share it with us.


So it turns out that my mother has been right all of these years: ‘Look outside at the simple beauty of nature. That is where we began and is the key to feeling connected.’


Somehow on Day 16, Mindful in May all started to make sense and seemed not only doable but worth doing. I’m orderly, organised, methodical and a harsh judge of myself and my failings. So Saturday was bigger than you might think. I had dropped the mindfulness ball as a result of the busy life and mind-chatter that I set out to conquer. What’s the point, I thought, I’m a meditation failure.


I looked outside after days of rain, the sky was blue and the trees were smiling – as my mum would say. So I opened my email and let the feelings of guilt, self-sabotage and frustration just be, for once.


I did the meditation and listened to the interview with Dr Mark Coleman, not once, not twice, but THREE times AND took notes. I refrained from berating myself for not being the perfect student, but commended myself for my perseverance and finally getting ‘it’. It’s not about being a perfect diligent student, it’s about remaining a student of life.


“When the eyes and ears are open, even the leaves on the trees teach like the scriptures.” – Kabir


In the midst of the mind-chatter and the craziness of our over-stimulated world, it is difficult to draw your mind back into the present. Mindfulness is about emptying your mind and just connecting with the place you are standing in or sitting in. The momentary feeling of connectedness to the present moment brings a feeling of relief and respite from the thoughts, which will lead to a feeling of calmness and clarity.


Just knowing this it is possible to feel this stillness, even if only fleetingly at first, is the key to unlocking the door to resistance.


You know that if you just practice the fleeting moments, they will eventually join together to be the inner calm that you felt was always so elusive. Eventually the calmness will have the upper hand over the helplessness that the chaos creates.


“Letting Go is the end result of Letting Be.”


With feelings of shame, guilt, fear, angst, loneliness, grief – let them be they are very real emotions. However, it is possible to Let Go of the reactive feelings that surround these emotions, without judgment.


In his interview on May 16, Mark Coleman taught me that thoughts are real but not necessarily true:


  1. Don’t believe everything you think
  2. Hold your thoughts lightly
  3. Don’t take your thoughts so seriously


What resonated with me was that you don’t have to become a blind slave to your inner critic or hold steadfast to views that are biased by the emotions that we attach those views. Our inner critic is often distorted and sees us differently to how the world sees us as often we are too severe in our analysis.


Our minds are cluttered with thoughts and judgments, worries and deadlines, and there’s not a lot of space left. Learning how to manage our internal state results in a reduction of our anxiety and stress and makes us more productive and able to listen. We have a greater understanding of those around us, leading to great empathy for those we may have previously misunderstood or misjudged.


Reducing mind clutter creates the space for other things to emerge. The practice is within you. We are not adding something on to who we are but we are cultivating what is already there. Thank you Mark Coleman for helping the penny drop and to Elise and the Mindful in May team for giving this 55 year old the tools to cultivate my awareness, presence and reduce the mind-chatter.




MIMsters Carmen and Sue with their very wise mum/grandma.


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"If we wish to be healthy, happy and clear-minded, we need to upgrade our “inner technology”of attention to meet the demands of our increasingly complex world. That's where mindfulness comes in.."




Elise Bialylew is the author of the bestselling book, The Happiness Plan, and founder of Mindful in May, the world’s largest online global mindfulness fundraising campaign.

A doctor trained in psychiatry, turned social entrepreneur and mindfulness expert, she’s passionate about supporting individuals and organisations to develop inner tools for greater wellbeing and flourishing, and offers workshops and training at The Mind Life Project.

Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, New York Times and on Australian Television. She was recently recognised by the Australian Financial Review as a 2019 AFR Women of Influence.

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