Sometimes it feels like we’re always waiting; waiting for a new healthy love, a better job, a fresh start. We might become restless, losing hope in continuously wanting something we don’t have yet. We become engulfed in the what ifs of an ever-changing future.
But what if we’re not supposed to be waiting or anticipating? What if instead, we just live right now? What if we decide and declare what it is we deserve, hold that close, and focus our energy on being present today? What is for us, what we are working for, what we put our efforts into, will happen in alignment with the decisions we make in the present. What we are doing now shapes the moments that follow.
Create and craft each moment to reflect what you want. Create the person you want to be in every moment.
The future is a collection of already made decisions. Once we reach “the future” it will just be the present in that shifted moment. All that matters is right now.
Mindfully moving forward while acknowledging the hurt and pain of “what ifs” can be challenging. As we often craft and create what we want our lives to look like, mapping out timelines, we forget to live in what is happening now. Bask in the present and realize the peace we can acquire as we move with each moment as it is given to us. What happens next will soon be our present just as quick as the prior moment became our past. Do the best you can right now and let the next moment happen when the time comes. Welcome something new. Let go of what already happened, step into right now with bravery and grace.
Meditation and mindfulness are two complementary practices that can help enrich the relationship and connection we have with ourselves. Although different in subtle ways, meditation and mindfulness can teach self-compassion, self-awareness, peace, relaxation and calmness. When used together, meditation and mindfulness can also help to build and maintain a healthy relationship with the mind and body.
Meditation: Meditation is a practice and skill that welcomes calmness, stillness, focus, and concentration. By allowing the mind to focus and concentrate on the present moment, meditation helps to manage problems and consider solutions by developing the skills to navigate thoughts and ideas. With aiding in concentration, meditation also helps with calming internal turmoil and chatter. Meditation is a discipline and like any discipline takes practice and patience.
Mindfulness: Mindfulness is the skill, technique, and process of cultivating non-judgmental awareness of our thoughts, environment, and feelings. While it’s easy to over-analyze and overthink to gain control of our thoughts and feelings, mindfulness teaches us the power of noticing and observing. Without the urge to critique or change how we approach our thoughts, we are able to realize when and why those thoughts occur. To be mindful is to intentionally interact with our mind and body to welcome peace, relaxation, and rest. Like meditation, mindfulness seeks to draw attention to the present moment with awareness and intention.
Active Mindful Meditation Techniques
Note: Active mindful meditation combines the concentration and calmness of meditation with the non-judgemental awareness of mindfulness by accepting, noticing, and living through the sensations and experiences of the present moment.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist in The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation states “breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.” Relying on our breath gives us the choice to return our attention to the present moment. While mindful breathing can be practiced in the crossed-legged position sitting upright as traditional meditation persuades, it can also be done at any time and anywhere, especially when feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
Step 1: Focus your attention on your breathing.
Step 2: Practice a rhythm of breathing that works best for you (either with your eyes opened or closed). Some examples of rhythmic breathing include:
Counting (whether for three, five, or ten seconds) as you inhale slowly, then counting again for the same amount of seconds as you exhale.
Using the 6-3-6 technique by inhaling for six seconds, pausing for three seconds before exhaling, then exhaling for another six seconds.
Simply observing the natural sensation of breathing itself.
Step 3: With each inhalation, focus on the inbreath and observe the sensation, warmth and coolness of breathing in. As you exhale, draw attention to your lungs, expanding diaphragm, and tip of your nose.
Step 4: Notice the thoughts that come up while you are breathing. As the thoughts appear imagine them drifting away with every breath.
Step5: Continue in this rhythm of mindful breathing as long as you feel it necessary.
Mindfulness eating builds awareness and improves the relationship we have with what foods we consume on a daily basis.
Step 1: Focus your attention on what you are eating. How hungry are you? Can you hold it in your hand? How does it feel? How does it smell? Is your mouth watering? Notice your thoughts as you begin to eat.
Step 2: Notice the food in your mouth, the temperature and texture of the food, and how you are chewing. Observe the sensations in your jaw as you are chewing and swallowing your food.
Note: Mindfulness helps with impulse eating by increasing your awareness to make choices concerning your eating habits. Why are you eating? Are you hungry? When was the last time you had a meal?
Mindfulness walking focuses awareness on both the body and environment.
Step 1: Choose your favorite place to take a walk whether it be a park, your backyard, a beach, garden or other desired place.
Step 2: Start by standing and evenly distributing your weight on both feet. Observe and feel your body balance on the solid ground. Before starting to walk, mentally scan each part of your body for pain, stress or tension.
Note: Body scanning is a mindfulness technique that allows you to navigate bodily sensations. You can practice body scanning at any time while doing multiple activities. Body scanning is increasing awareness of how your body feels at any given moment.
Step 3: Begin to walk! Notice and become mindful of how you are walking. Take note of how your feet are touching the ground as you walk forward. Slowly move your attention to each part of your body from your feet to your ankles all the way up to your hips. What are the sensations in your feet, ankles, shins, calves, joints, and hips?
Step 4: Notice the air blowing against your skin. What are you thinking? How do you feel?
Note: Active meditation and mindfulness increase your focus and awareness of your body movements and thoughts. There is no need to regulate or change how you would regularly perform these actions; simply notice and observe.
Understanding the Power of Making Mindful Choices
Some find meditation, in its traditional sense of restricted practical consciousness, stillness and focus to be difficult to practice especially when experiencing racing thoughts and stress. By utilizing active meditation techniques, it’s possible to not only incorporate meditation during our every day schedule, but also increase awareness and become mindful of our present self. By understanding our body and needs, we are able to appreciate the power of having and making choices on a moment by moment basis. To have choices reminds us of who we are and what we are capable of.
Reminder: Check out my certifications tab to see all I learned and the link to the mindfulness course I took!
Without the hustle and bustle of an everyday routine of “work, ” it can become draining and confusing to figure out what purpose means. Because we’re used to linking who we are to what we “do” we often forget that we aren’t what we do, we simply…are. We exist and that, in itself, is purpose.
Awareness of the present “self” is appreciating all that “we are” in the absence of work. Who are we when we are not working or performing tasks? How can we bask in the simplicity of being?
Note: Focusing our attention on “doing” dictates our actions and goals to define success as accomplishments achieved only by something we can perform through our behaviors and actions. Therefore, when we are not actively “doing” much of anything we lose our sense of self and purpose. Shifting our focus to “being” allows us to appreciate existing when we are not/cannot “do” anything.
Acknowledging that we have worth and value, not because of “what” we do but because of “who” we are (already) helps us to understand our fundamental “being.”
Affirmation Challenge: When waking up every morning, begin by affirming and manifesting the words, “I am.” By understanding that “doing” doesn’t define purpose, we can view our expectations of ourselves with gentleness, approaching each day with gratitude and grace. Existing and living how best we can outweigh the constant assumption of having to do more to fill our sense of self.
Reminder: It’s okay if some days are difficult to even get out of bed. Those days are our “being” days. It’s okay to focus on being.
Ever wanted a moment to yourself? Ever wished you could push a “pause” button on life when you feel overwhelmed? I can relate!
I’ve recently learned a mindfulness technique that can help when you feel overcome by negative thinking. Instead of spiraling into a tough place mentally,pause. Mindfulness techniques such as this can help to build self-awareness as well as practice the art of acknowledging without spiraling.
Here are four steps you can take:
#1:Once you witness a negative thought entering your mind, pause. Say it out loud if necessary. Interrupt the thought.
#2:Acknowledge the thought. Notice why you’re thinking it.
#3:Take a deep breath.
#4:Witness the thought as just a thought and let it pass. Do not give in or allow it to shift your perspective.
The idea is to learn how to “pause” at the moment a negative thought is introduced and build mindfulness around self-care and self-awareness. Whether it’s saying “pause” out loud or manifesting a pause in our actions, the act of pausing teaches us to manage our thoughts in hopes of creating a more workable outlook on our lives and experiences.
What’s one thought you can pause today?
“Pause” is an activity/graphic I’ve created for The Mighty!
Build a relationship with yourself and those around you. Continue on to a journey of awareness and acceptance. Build perspective and allow yourself the privilege of the present moment. Move on in patience.
Construct a perception that shapes a higher consciousness. How you think and respond impacts your reality. Create calmness and boundaries prioritizing yourself in self-care.
Learn to love yourself, build empathy, and be grateful.
Open your mind, reflect on your experiences, and feel.
Be gentle with yourself and your journey. Absorb what you need from life lessons but also filter out what no longer serves you.
Give yourself permission to move forward without regret and guilt.
Be open to change and to receiving help.
Allow self-love to guide your decisions. Grow in yourself. Get to know who you are. Accept that you live on purpose; that you have a purpose. Open your eyes to something different then you’re used to, something better.
Become uncomfortable staying in the same place/situation. Move. Change. Shift.
Strive for something higher, something soul-satisfying.
There are moments where I sit and write and whatever flows out becomes something of its own. I want to make a toast to everything that’s been good to me, that’s shown me who I am even in conflict and discomfort. This is me. A work in progress, a never-ending process.
Continuously work on yourself even if the reality is uncomfortable….