I am going to challenge you to pause and do an activity with me. It will only take a moment.
Begin by relaxing. Take in the scene around you. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, release any thoughts, emotions, or worries. Acknowledge that they are there, they are important, but blow them away for now. Breathe in again, this time, counting to 6 as you inhale. Hold for 6. Breathe out for 6. Just feel the breath as it enters your system, oxygenates, and releases. “Damn, this feels good.” Notice your surroundings. Remember to acknowledge and let go of those thoughts that try to come in. We are not paying attention to them right now; only the moment. Practice this breathing 3 more times.
How do you feel?
You may notice that you are more aware now. It is like you have been transported from your head to your feet. You are present in your body. Express gratitude for this; for seldomly do we experience this level of consciousness.
This, my friends, is what the practice of mindfulness is all about.
Sometimes, in our rush to complete our tasks, we get caught up in our head spaces and are less aware of our foot spaces. Being mindful is being present in the current moment by recognizing your surroundings, your emotions, and the people around you. It carries this notion that nothing is truly solid or stuck in time and everything that we experience is fluid. It is forever changing and evolving. Time is quick, and what is left are memories.
When I began my venture into the realm of mindful practices and seeking ways to attune myself to the present, one of the most impactful realizations I made was that I had to make a SUPER concerted effort to be more mindful. I had to identify and write down daily goals to help me guide my habit. There are days, even now, that can fly by, and without a gentle reminder, the day is spent more in my head.
If this is a new practice for you and you are looking for a place to begin, a wonderful resource created by Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh, that I recently came across, was Everyday Peace Cards: 108 Mindfulness Meditations. I choose a card from the deck randomly as part of my morning routine (see more about morning routines in this post), carefully read it and find its purpose for me in my day, and take a picture of it. To help me remain accountable, I set a mindfulness timer to go off midway through the day.
By practicing mindfulness, I have become a more mindful parent, teacher, coach, and friend. I am a better listener, I have a better reaction when it comes to interacting with my environment and with others, and I am kinder to myself. My thoughts, worries, and stresses are a part of life and they need to be managed or cared for, but they do not need to control my daily grasp on the here and now.
We want to hear from you! Do you have a favorite mindfulness routine? Or a resource or book you recommend? Share in the comments!
If you want a relaxing meditation before bed, enjoy this guided sleep meditation.