Seven Ways to change your life: Part Two – Mindfulness

The biggest lesson I’ve learned in my life is that I’m not always right. (Hmm That was hard –  It still is.)   My life began to change when I started listening to different perspectives and allowing myself to venture down rabbit holes of intrigue and mystery.    I learned more about myself, why I do certain things that rub people up the wrong way, and why other people trigger me more than they should.  If it weren’t for these practices that I now embrace as part of my daily life, I wouldn’t have found this place of contentment  – its yours too for the taking. 

Last week’s practice, the first of our (Equinox Journey’s) seven ways to change your life was Stillness.   You’ve had a few days to try it out, don’t stop – now add this one.   

This week’s practice is Mindfulness.  Yes, the buzzword of the times we are living in.  A word or practice that too few of us understand and too many people tell us to “just try it!”. Maybe it’s time to do just that.  Like all these transformative practices,  its available to you whenever you need it – all day and night, and it’s free!

Caveat: There are no quick fixes in life.  (Not sustainable ones anyway).  This takes practice so promise yourself at least one month of patience, kindness, persistence, and love.  (remember to mark the date in your calendar and if you ‘fall off the proverbial bus, just get back on ASAP)

Here goes. Super-Seven Practice #2

Introducing: Mindfulness

Smile, breathe and go slowly. 

Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindfulness literally means experiencing the present moment with your heart.  It is a moment-to-moment awareness of what is occurring in and around you. Nothing else, just that.  The moment.  

Practicing mindfulness implies that you are fully focused on just one thing at a time.  You give that one thing your full attention, observing objectively the thing, the act, or circumstance.  Should emotion or reason creep in, applying a sense of curiosity rather than judgment is recommended. 

One of the biggest reasons people quit mindfulness (or meditation) is because they judge themselves for how they are practicing. Please don’t turn these practices into a ‘should do’ or ‘must be’ – there is no perfectionism in Mindfulness.  If this is hard, and you’re being distracted, try to notice your breath or sensations in your body.    

Directions for practice: 

  • Start with one thing, it may be sitting in nature for 5 minutes a day looking at one single aspect like a tree, flower, the ocean, or a pet.  
  • Then introduce it to at least one meal per day, where you mindfully chew and consider the food, its source, and how it may nurture your body.  
  • You can also walk mindfully, taking slow deliberate steps – grounding yourself with each step. 
  • Other forms of mindfulness can be found in moments of bliss – like dancing, swimming lengths, chopping vegetables, or just being with your pet.

By practicing breathing mindfully we gain a sense of calm and tranquility — the problems and troubles of the day slowly fade away because we are in the ‘now’.

The Friends of Mindfulness:  Nature, meditation, connecting with self, compassion, service, 

The Benefits of Mindfulness:  Complete presence – not worrying about anything in the future, nor trying to change the past. Accepting the moment as it is, experiencing peace of mind and tranquility.  These have even more to offer when practiced regularly, reduced tension and stress, better sleep, a sense of wonder, clarity and so much more.

 

If you’d like to connect, ask questions or dive a little deeper, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.  paula@chialife.co.za