I’ve decided to take part in another daily writing challenge. This one was spur of the moment, not thought out, planned and calculated like the A-Z challenge I’m taking part in April will be. I read it on a post today which happens to be the first day of the challenge and decided to accept it as a warm up for my marathon in April.
This challenge has a daily theme. Monday’s theme Mindful Monday resonates with me, especially because I have adopted Buddhism as my spiritual map of choice. I have practiced mindfulness but not as consistently as I should. Mindfulness as described in this post is more like meditation. A state of calming of the mind, peace both with your thoughts and heart, releasing stress and just being in the moment.
This sounds wonderful but if you haven’t tried to meditate you might not realize it’s harder than it seems. We live in a fast paced world. Jobs often
encouraging requiring us to multi-task. People highlight their ability to simultaneously carry out numerous tasks at one time like a badge of honor. People are hustling from place to place, calendars full, overextending themselves with commitments.
Try to recall the last time that you had your full attention and concentration on the task at hand. You were completely focused on what you were doing at that moment without running a list of things to do in your head or planning what you were going to do next. I wrote a post recently about this. I talked about how my husband gifted me a day of relaxation at the spa. I was so excited and eager to begin my day of relaxation yet when the time came the hardest thing in the world that moment was to relax. I was in a room full running water, total quiet and tranquility and I couldn’t get my mind to stop. I didn’t know how to just be. My thoughts would race from one topic the next.
I read an article once stating stress is worse for your health than smoking. If that is the case, then I’m in trouble! Here I was thinking I made healthy lifestyle choices by not drinking or smoking and making an effort to eat healthy and be more active. However, if stress truly is worse than smoking then I haven’t been living as healthy of a life as I tricked myself into thinking.
If you’ve been following me, you know that my family and I moved overseas recently. I have to say that transition has been one of the best things for my life, especially in the stress department. The European lifestyle is more laid back to begin with, to top it off I live on an island where people take it easy, aren’t in a rush and “live and let live” seems to be the motto. Not only is the European lifestyle less demanding, living near the ocean provides me with an inner peace and tranquility I can’t explain. There’s something about seeing the sun reflect off of the glistening water that just warms my soul. I have a 10 minute walk to work and every morning I make it a point to observe the sunrise. Not just in passing, but take in the colors of the clouds and see the beautiful unique canvas in the sky each morning. There is something very calming and soothing about the walk in the morning, being on of the one of the only people out and about in the early morning hours of the day before that same path fills with crowds of tourists just an hour later.
I think it’s important for everyone to take a few moments each day to clear their mind. Push aside all negativity, fear, anxiety, worry, doubt, and any other thoughts or feelings that cause stress. We all have busy lives and commitments. If I didn’t know better I’d say there was a competition to see who has the busiest life everyone was secretly signed up for. There is a saying that goes something along the lines of “at the end of the day we all have 24 hours in the day, it’s up to you how to use them”.
I’m going to commit to taking at least 15 minutes out of my day to practice mindfulness/meditation whatever you choose to call it. The best part is anyone can practice it! It isn’t conflicting with anyone’s religious or spiritual beliefs, you aren’t required to hum, say a mantra, connect to a power, god, or higher being. Just find a quiet place that you can sit uninterrupted for a few moments. You might have to start small and work your way up. Don’t set a timer or alarm because you don’t want to create a sense of urgency. Get comfortable, and just notice your natural breathing. Do whatever you have to do to slow down your thoughts. It make take time but with practice you can clear your thoughts until you are totally aware of your breathing, heartbeat and your senses take over. You hear things that you weren’t aware of moments ago, you smell faint scents in the air, your thoughts are no longer thoughts just a warm feeling.
I’m choosing to start my day off practicing mindfulness because it is a great way to start off the day. Will you join me on this quest of inner peace? Finding time to set aside a few moments each day to quiet your mind, and find inner balance? Do you already practice mindfulness? If so, how long have you been practicing? What differences have you noticed? I look forward to reading your thoughts on this.