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The irony is…..I have been the farthest from ‘Mindful’ these past few weeks- and in many ways, have felt defeated, restless, stressed, anxious and exhausted, both mentally and spiritually. If you really knew me, you’d know spirituality and mental health (hence, my last blog post) are some of my top priorities. I stand by them and I advocate around them. Practicing ‘Mindfulness’ is a conscious lifestyle that requires everyday practice- and I am a work in progress. Despite believing in it so deeply, I fail at it at times but thankfully we have the option to create clean slates, each new day!
To be “mindful”” means you are present in the now, which often feels difficult and sometimes impossible when your life is around planning, logistics and ultimately thinking ahead ALL THE TIME. For many years after having my daughter, I ALWAYS had to think about tomorrow and the upcoming weeks because my responsibilities were so demanding, and my life required a high-level of preparation. I wish someone would have told me to “Breathe”. I wish someone would have offered to meditate with me or offered supports to help me with being mindful and grounded– as I often felt unhappy and had developed anxiety from life always feeling so fast-paced.
So with vulnerability, I share this blog post as accountability for me – and hopefully you too, will learn to find ‘Peace in Every Step’.
‘Mindfulness’ is the practice of breathing, slowing down, living mindfully, which subsequently allows us to live more peacefully and happily. I am inspired to write this post based on a book I am currently reading by Thich Nhat Hanh, called ‘Peace is Every Step’.
Thich Mhat Hanh is a “world-renowned Zen master, spiritual leader, and author that shows us how to make positive use of the very situations that usually pressure and antagonize us.”
I will not cover all things within the book, but will mention some of my favorite lines from the book. If you are currently working on being more present, grounded and ‘mindful’, I’d suggest clicking the link above and purchasing a copy of the book! What I particularly appreciate most about this book is the simplicity of it. The book is written in a way that is digestible and comprehensive. Additionally, I love how this book describes ‘mindfulness’ and meditation in a way that is not pretentious- and explains how our awareness can ultimately allow us to be more empathetic and compassionate towards others, which is what this world needs!
Here are some of my favorite lines from the book, read them and interpret them as you see fit.
1. “The foundation of happiness is mindfulness. The basic condition for being happy is our consciousness of being happy.”
2. “When we practice mindfulness, we come to cherish these things (things we don’t typically appreciate) and we learn how to protect them. By taking good care of the present moment, we take good care of the future. Working for peace in the future is to work for peace in the present moment.”
3. “Our awareness of our anger does not suppress it or drive it. It just looks after it.”
4. “We can concentrate on our breathing in order to maintain this mindfulness and know ourselves fully.”
5. “We must go back to the present moment in order to be really alive. When we practice conscious breathing, we practice going back to the present moment where everything is happening. “
6. “Seeing and understanding are elements of liberation that bring about love and compassion.”
7. “If we know how to live every moment in an awakened way, we will be aware of what is going on in our feelings and perceptions in the present moment, and we will not let knots form or become tighter in our consciousness.”
8. “To develop understanding, you have to practice looking at all living beings with the eyes of compassion. When you understand, you cannot help but love.”
9. “If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love. If we only think of ourselves, if we know only our own needs and ignore the needs of the other person, we cannot love.”
10. “Each of us needs a reserve of seeds that are beautiful, healthy, and strong enough to help us during difficult moments.” (e.g. friends, family, support system)
11. “We need to practice mindfulness all the time so that we plant healing, refreshing seeds in ourselves. Then, when we need them, they will take care of us”
If you want to know where to start in your journey of mindfulness, start by simply finding moments to breathe. In the book, ‘Peace in Every Step’, Thich Nhat Hanh mentions using moments that you typically find to be unpleasant as reminders to breathe, such as at a red light while driving or while doing dishes- which are typically moments that may feel like a waste of our time or time that we wish could speed up. However, those are small moments of time that we can reclaim to meditate and practice being present.
I am particularly working on the way I begin my mornings and being intentional about letting any and all things dictate the way I start by day. In addition, I am consciously reminding myself to breathe at different moments of the day, as well as creating healthy boundaries for myself and for others.
So…..are you being mindful or is your ‘’mind full’????