Mindful with Irene 7

Irene went on a trip to Ghent with New Love and it struck her how much she has changed. Each Friday Irene, together with Astrid the founder of Flow Magazine, writes about how various Mindfulness lessons apply in daily life.

For so many years, I demanded so much from myself. Now, I actually wonder why, but then, it all felt so logical. During a recent weekend away in Ghent with New Love, it struck me how much I, partly thanks to a lot of mindfulness courses, have changed. Even before we had left for Ghent, I was enthusiastically looking up what museums they had there. Yes, there was a design museum! And wow, a museum about psychiatry, something that interests me immensely (creative people seem to display tendencies towards having a “crazy-gene”). And the House of Alijn—all about everyday life in the 20th Century—sounded nice, too.

But when we arrived on the Friday, we wandered through the town first, stopped off for a beer afterwards, and by the time we were done, the museums were closed. Saturday was spent walking around and shopping. And on Sunday, when the sun was shining so beautifully, we made a spontaneous trip to the flea market followed by a relaxing drink on a terrace, with a newspaper to hand.

And it was then that the critical voice in my head began to make itself heard: “But you should be going to that and that museum. Now you haven’t done anything worthwhile.” And the sense of unease swiftly followed. Previously, I would have got up at that moment, and crammed in at least three museums during my last few hours in Ghent. But since taking up mindfulness, I can better appreciate what I really want and what I find really important. And then I started to think back on all the trips in my life. I could remember some wonderful museums, but more than that, I recalled the precious moments of sitting on terraces, enjoying myself and having the time to hold lovely conversations.

New Love is certainly lucky with this Irene 2.0…

Illustration: Marloes de Vries