MINDFULNESS is greatly missing in our daily lives. We spend way too much time worrying about something that happened in the past and way too much energy struggling with decisions that may affect our future.
We also become obsessed with the “Why me?” or the “Why NOT me?” We have to be able to give ourselves permission to just be what we are: human beings, not human doings. We all come with our own biases, prejudices, standards and expectations of others – but also of ourselves. This precludes us from being grateful for who we are at the core and how far we have come despite the many obstacles we face.
We don't need to be resilient. We don't need to be brave. We just need to be. That is what mindfulness is.
When we become mindful, we allow ourselves to be at peace with where we are at this moment. We can then take the time to see beyond the obvious and note the many things we can be grateful for that surround us, support us, and nurture us through hardships – be it family, friends, strangers, your warm bed, or the sun rising outside. It's easy to be mindful during happy times. But it can be challenging to find the stillness to appreciate our lives in the midst of hard times. Steering our minds from negativity, worry, and anxiety takes practice. The good news is that with enough focus, we are all capable.
When it comes to my daily practice, my Zen teacher Paul Haller would always say: “Practice, practice, practice, attention, attention, attention.” To fine-tune my focus, I need to pause and notice where my attention is right now. Am I time travelling off to the future or am I rehearsing or rehashing the past? My technique as a recovering thinker, is to stay S.O.B.E.R.
S Stop notice what I’m doing, right NOW.
O Observe what’s happening NOW.
B Breathe. Take three deep breaths.
E Engage with this moment, notice contact with the floor.
R Respond rather than react, to what’s happening now.
I find that this simple practice allows me to keep it simple and, remember, if it’s not simple it’s not mindfulness.
My tips for today are:
• Stop hating yourself for everything you aren't.
• Start loving yourself for everything that you are.