The Practice of being Mindful and Perceptions

 

 

Some days, I wonder to myself if the art (and I used the term loosely) of mindfulness is becoming a thing of the past.  I think it’s becoming obsolete or rather like the dinosaur fading into extinction . I know that it’s one of today’s buzzwords.  Everyone makes it out to be very “New Age”. It’s not new, we have just forgotten about it. We have let it fade into the background because too many other items, projects, tasks, demand more and more of our conscientiousness.

I have to admit, until I reached my late 40’s and  into my 50’s, I wasn’t particularly self-aware.  I went though daily life  and grew into different roles-  a HS graduate, an Airman/Sergeant in the USAF, a verbally abused wife, a Mother to small children, a Widow, a Civilian, a Caregiver to a terminally ill child, a Wife, an Insurance Agent, Mother to graduates, a Yoga Teacher and a Grandmother. I have been a lot of things to a lot of different people.

It wasn’t until my initial training as a Yoga Teacher did I truly take stock into practicing mindfulness.  Not only am I more self aware of my actions, inactions, decisions, etc. I am observing more and more how others don’t even exercise a small amount of self-awareness. It’s not hard to spot actually. Going to the grocery store for example- that walk from the parking lot to the door.  It reminds me of a scene from Night of the Living Dead. Heaven forbid they look both ways before walking out right in front of you!

Now, I am not by any means saying that I am a master of being mindful. I am far from it, but I like to think that I am more mindful than the average person. And with the latest political climate and world affairs and the daily work environment, I am finding that I need to step up MY mindfulness practice just to keep my head above the proverbial life waters. There are days that I need to practice it MORE than others just for my own health. Perhaps I will divulge more on that subject at a later time.

There was an exercise in mindfulness/perception in Yoga Teacher Training that I particularly enjoyed and took a lot from the experience. It was a walking meditation.

We would close our eyes, take a couple of steps and then open our eyes and observe everything around us. Taking notice of the colors, scents, the breeze or lack thereof, the sun, etc. and our personal feelings of this “picture”. We then closed our eyes again and took a couple more steps and repeated the process. Not only was this very peaceful and soothing, it taught you that if you looked at something at a different angle, the perception of the sight or situation is completely different.  Hello!  Mind blown!  Multiple lessons in a single exercise!!!

Developing your own practice of mindfulness is easy and simple. A lot of folks think that to do this , you have to sit  like a pretzel and meditate and who has time for all that??  With work, family, kids, pets, appointments, etc, they don’t even START a practice of mindfulness. If you are one of those folks that I just described, stop. Now. You are thinking too much!  Get out of your head!

All it takes to start is 5 full and deep breaths.  Here, let’s do it together.

Inhale slowly, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Exhale slowly,  two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Inhale slowly , two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Exhale slowly, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Inhale, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Exhale, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Inhale, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Exhale, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Inhale, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

Exhale, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.

There, you did it!  You just began your mindfulness practice.  It took less than a minute!

If you do this multiple times a day, you should begin to feel better and perhaps find more time to do it more often, because if you are like me, you begin to crave the peacefulness and sense of well being.  You can set your phone or watch to remind you to do it at various times of the day.  I know this sounds crazy, but if you feel strange doing it at your desk or work area, go to the restroom and do it there or perhaps go to your car, or take a break, go outside and take a walk around and do a  short walking meditation.  You will be glad you did!

Namaste my friends!

Until next time, be blessed,

Kristen

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