Lately, the word “mindfulness” is tossed around as frequently as a beach ball at a rock concert (at least the rock concerts of the 80’s. I’m not sure if they still do that. . .). With all this common usage of mindfulness, are we practicing it more, or has it simply become a buzzword? I associate mindfulness with being aware of what is going on in and around us at any given time. This means consciously checking in with ourselves throughout the day. By being aware of our present and not worrying about the past or fretting over the future, we can truly experience life as it happens, moment by moment. Being truly present in a mindful way is an excellent method of reducing stress, thereby having a great impact on physical and mental health. By practicing mindfulness, you can even begin to change your emotional responses. By experiencing life moment by moment, you will maintain a more present and peaceful life.
Life is now, not later
Life is happening right now, right here. Whatever has happened to you has already happened. The thoughts you are having right now are happening right now. All you have is this present moment. All you really need to be concerned about is how you are handling it. How are you acting right now? By being aware of your present moment, you can see and feel yourself reacting. As this reaction builds—enter mindfulness—you can see and feel your possibly un-thought-out next move with enough notice to consciously observe, moderate, or change it. You have the amazing ability to slow things down, like in the U2 video “Elevation” (do you know the one, from the soundtrack to the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider?). Watch it here.
The fact that humans have the capacity to observe their own actions (and Bono’s awesome one’s), think, and go inward and consciously alter the outcome of a given situation is an evolutionary miracle. Why not flex this muscle a bit? This means being aware and attentive during a conversation; when you are walking or driving somewhere, take in your surroundings; as you are eating, note the smell, taste, and texture of the food; take note of your reactions in certain situations. These small gestures can result in significant outcomes. But we can go even deeper than that by tuning in to not just our activities, but also our emotions.
When you go about your life without paying attention to what is happening, you become almost robot-like, without any awareness of your true potential or inner wisdom, and with little awareness of how your thoughts and actions affect others. You may be continually searching for a better life or circumstances, without taking the time to pause and experience your life as it is right now. Try focusing on the here and now. By doing so, and giving more attention to the things that bring you joy and satisfaction, these positive feelings will expand, bringing more joy and satisfaction into your life.
Check in regularly
A good mindfulness exercise is to check in with your feelings throughout the day. Nobody can tell you how to feel. If you are feeling down, angry, hopeless, or sad, then turn your attention to what is creating that emotion. If you would like to move away from feeling those emotions, the best strategy is to examine where they are coming from, understand that your beliefs have led to your emotions, and then work toward changing your beliefs. Any negative feelings you are experiencing are not created by external events: you are creating them and the judgments, thoughts, and beliefs that you have about those external events. It follows, then, that the way you choose to perceive a situation can determine your emotional response.
When we pause and feel the present moment, we become more connected with our true selves. The more we develop this awareness of these moments, the deeper we become connected; our compass starts to turn to true north, leading us to our true purpose with open hearts and joy.
It’s all up to you!
You must make a conscious decision be mindful; this decision can lead you to experience life from a place of gratitude and joy; to take responsibility for your current situation and go inward to change it if you are not satisfied; to feel more in touch and connected to yourself and others; and to truly experience life moment by moment. Your emotions fuel your energy and your energy fuels your future. Mindfulness is your potential transportation to transformation. Why not jump on this vehicle and ride it around for a bit? It’s fast, takes little gas, and if you surrender to it, it will take you where you are meant to go!
Watch for upcoming blog posts on mindfulness exercises that you can use every day!
Empowering you to create your vibrant life!