In honor of Mindful May, is feels fitting to write about mindfulness. Mindfulness can sometimes feel like an abstract concept, and that’s because it is! It is hard to formulate words to completely detail the inner workings of the human brain, body and heart connection. So although I have a snapshot of what mindfulness is and is not to me, know that it is a personal endeavor, and one best experienced.
* Mindfulness is NOT getting completely rid of thoughts (Good luck with that).
* Mindfulness IS catching when my mind goes to the past or the future, and bringing my awareness back to the present, over and over again.
* Mindfulness is NOT multitasking (That sneaky “But it is more productive” trap).
* Mindfulness IS tuning into my senses in the present – the tastes, sights, smells, touch, and sounds – by being with the one task in front of me.
* Mindfulness is NOT dragon breathing with a gong (Well not always).
* Mindfulness IS using my breath as an anchor, being soothed by a deep inhale, feeling the breeze through my nostrils and my stomach expanding, followed by an even longer exhale, over and over again.
* Mindfulness is NOT being a blissful person 24/7 (Good luck with that as well).
* Mindfulness IS noticing feelings or thoughts of discontentment, and bringing awareness back to the present, finding moments of joy and gratitude within the difficulty, not despite it.
* Mindfulness is NOT thinking you are horrible at mindfulness (No one has this figured out).
* Mindfulness IS noticing when my thoughts are an inner critic, taking me towards judgement of self and others, bringing myself back to the moment, and instead extending myself and others deep compassion and grace for being a fellow struggling human being.
Therefore friends, my encouragement would be to just start. Set a timer or an alarm right now while you are reading this, or use a visual, such as every time you put on your seatbelt or you feel your feet hit the ground in the morning, as a reminder for your mindfulness practice. If you wait until it feels right or good, or you are having a mental breakdown, you might never experience its benefits. Mindfulness is way more about consistency than accuracy, and therefore, is a practice of love.