Wherever You Go, There You Are

Everyday Reflection and Mindfulness

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The title of this article is borrowed from a same-titled book by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who wrote, in the book, about mindfulness meditation for everyday life. The book calls for reader’s attention that no matter what your life situation is, ultimately you have to live the inner work yourself, and the work always comes from the cloth of your own life.

Both at work and in life, it is not uncommon that we meet people who tend to blame others or external factors for their project failure or unsatisfied life. There is always something external that contributes to these people’s misfortune. So the mindset of ‘wherever you go there you are’ is a gentle reminder for us to look inward, seek for internal reflection, connect with the core of our being, and invite mindfulness to enter and help shift our mindset.

I personally have benefited a lot from the mindset for my creative development. Before the start of this year, my work life and creative development were two separate threads. Though my week was generally interspersed with two evening drawing sessions, I continued to experience the ‘feast or famine’ pattern with my creative development. Lots of ideas may germinate but they, along with my creative self, would often wither like plants without water and nutrients.

My one-to-one sessions with my art mentor for the past few months have been for finding a more integrated path. Along with building new habits such as integrating my art practice into my everyday life, the mindset of ‘here I am’ has been serving as an anchor point, which drew me back whenever my mind wanders off.

I no longer wish I could take on a full time art education, or wish I could live in central London where more creative resources are available, or wish I were much younger and could afford to letting go all responsibilities. I just accepted the situation, accepted that all my past contributed to the richness of my thinking, accepted that there are alternative paths that can help my creative development, and accepted that the present moment is good.

Amazingly by the full acceptance of where I was, I have been able to progress a great deal on both my thinking and creative practice. Looking back, it feels like many other paths have been always there, and ready to offer up their true richness to me, but my wishful thinking was like a blindfold, which blocked those paths from being visible.

By acknowledging my present situation, I am now able to underpin both my work and art practice with a constant thread: character and creative thinking development. In Stephen R. Covey’s book Primary Greatness, the writer called for primary greatness, which focuses on character building such as integration, maturity (a balance between courage and consideration), and of service to others.

Though I classified Covey’s book under business section initially, I found the book also underpinned how I work and communicate with people in my creative practice circle. In similar terms, I found that my creative thinking development enabled me to be more open to ambiguity, to the unknown and changes, and more flexible in terms of ways of working and collaborating with others at the workplace.

It is amazing to experience the changes that the full acceptance of my situation, coupled with the quest for continuous development, have brought to my life. So I would stop here and would like to invite you, my readers, to take a moment from your busy schedule daily, invite mindfulness to enter, search for your inner authentic self that awaits speaking to you, and to accept yourself fully and see what that would bring. 

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


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