Madeleine Eames

- Psychotherapist
- Mindfulness Teacher

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Mindfulness and Disneyland

“If you let go a little you a will have a little peace; if you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace; if you let go completely you will have complete peace.”

Ajahn Chah

 

One would think that a trip to Disneyland would prove to be a difficult place to practice mindfulness and maintain a sense of calm.  Well, I had the pleasure of putting it to the test, and I’d like to share my results…

Like everyone, I was brought up with a certain mindset of what was acceptable, and what was not. We learn this through our parents until we develop our own selves. We camped. All the time. Rain, wind and snow. Hotels were out of the question, even frowned upon. I was brought up on a strict diet of camping, health food a la Frances Moore’s “Diet for a Small Planet”, and a sense that those who weren’t were, well, uninformed. Certainly Disneyland was not on our list of summer excursions. Nothing like facing my own conditioning head-on!

Mindfulness is inclusive, not exclusive. I remembered this and opened to, and accepted every moment, just the way it was. Crazy rides, line-ups, junk food, crowds of people, all in this amazingly constructed playground. Because after all, we might have different likes and dislikes, but at the core we are all the same. Like the Grandma watching her grandchildren on the rides with joyful tears in her eyes who uttered to me “F#$%, kids… they rip your heart out”. Yup. We’re all the same. This makes life much easier.

Or the worker who I chatted with while waiting for a ride. He had immigrated from Mexico with his family and had landed this job after many years of struggle and poverty. For him, this was truly the happiest place on earth. Who am I to judge? He’s happier than many people who have more…

I loved the rides, the food, the people, the excitement, every bit of it.

One of the many gifts of mindfulness is the ability to see through your own judgements, smile and accept the moment exactly how it is, because it is. Life is teaching us all the time where we resist, contract, and judge. Welcome those experiences and people who teach you where you still have some letting-go work to do.

Would I go again? No need to decide that now, that moment will decide that for itself. All I know is that mindfulness opens you up to life unfolding and the many facets and textures that are awesome, painful, exciting and calm. When you let go of control and love every moment the way it is, life reveals itself and becomes a miracle in itself. Try it for yourself.

 

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