Let’s start to practice!
To me, Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment with kindness; to be aware of your breath, your body, your sensations, your feelings, your thoughts, and how all of these things are interacting with the outside world. That said, the practice of Mindfulness, is to continually bring yourself back to this awareness, over and over and over again. When our mind wanders to what’s next on our to-do list, we bring it back. When we get caught up in a new sound, we acknowledge that sound and bring our awareness back to our breath, our body in the present moment.
We do all of this with the kindness that we would show to a child as they learned their A, B, C’s. The first time a child tries to sing his or her A, B, C’s they are going to miss some letters, probably the 20th time they try they might miss some letters, especially when they start doing it on their own without you leading them. Ideally, we smile; we hug them and tell them they did a good job, while we keep practicing with them. We don’t give up on the child. We don’t berate the child for missing F.
That is our mindfulness practice times 1,000. We’ve spent our whole life allowing our brain to follow any thought it wants, without noting how that that feels in our body or if it’s useful to us at the moment. That means it’s going to take a long time to retrain ourselves to notice what’s happening and decide to not follow the path on which we find ourself. Over time we will start to notice when we are wandering beyond the present moment. But in the meantime, our practice is to actually find that moment where we realize we “aren’t here” and to bring ourselves back. Don’t groan and think “Again, REALLY again, I was going down that path of worry, or panic, or planning???” Celebrate those moments! Each and every one! Instead think, “Yeah! That was a thought I might have spent hours on before and now I caught it and I’m back enjoying my child in this moment and not worrying about tomorrow. Woohoo!” Go ahead, give yourself a fist pump! Way to go! Even if it just happened once today that was one more time that you were present than yesterday.
I invite you to lean back from this blog post and look around to find one thing in your room or your house that gives you joy. Find your breath and follow your inhale and exhale as you take in this thing that gives you joy. Take note of how this item makes you feel throughout your body.
For me this morning it was the sun pouring through my southern windows. The site of my plants soaking up that low winter sun with such joy, that I had to just stop, take in the sun myself and take in all of the different shades of green that my Pachira Aquatica (Money Tree) was showing. I felt such warmth, not only from the sun, but within my heart and head. I felt thankful for this house with large windows that I love. I noted that I wished there was more snow outside the window, but then came back to the joy and gratefulness, leaving behind the craving and the to-do list for at least a few moments.
What did you find that gave you joy? Where you able to spend a few moments focused only on that item and how you related to it in that moment?