‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’Hamlet, Act II
The last few blogs have all pretty much been about the body; what to expect when expecting, the stages we all go through getting back into exercise and how to nourish our bodies correctly so that we can achieve a healthier sense of well-being to enjoy our lives.
Now I want to take a look at mindfulness.
I could talk about this subject for hours. Instead, I’ve decided to open up my world of mindfulness, and tell you about what it means to me. For those of you who already practise mindfulness, you will know how a simple 5 minute meditation can change the course of your day. Those amongst us who are new to this, you may be surprised to know that mindfulness has been practised for thousands of years. It just wasn’t termed mindfulness way back then.
So what is ‘mindfulness?’
The dictionary definition is…
- the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
- a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
To me mindfulness is so much more than the words above describe.
So a brief history…
Mindfulness is a practice involved in various religious and secular traditions – from Hinduism and Buddhism to yoga and, more recently, non-religious meditation.
People have been practicing mindfulness for thousands of years, whether on its own or as part of a larger tradition. CLICK HERE and it will take you to a wonderful site where you can read more about this. I am conscious we all need to start somewhere, and here you will find a more in-depth history plus PDFs to download for free. They are a good way to get started, or find out about more advanced practises. You don’t have to be a practitioner to enjoy all the wonderful articles and practises.
Why use mindfulness, or as it is more commonly known, ‘meditation’?
We’ve all had those mornings when you have woken from a sleepless night. Perhaps one or more of the kids have woken you, or you were simply tossing and turning. You get out of bed only to stub your toe, still half asleep – wishing you could go back in time. Getting yourself, the kids, the rest of the household, up and ready for the day. Your littlest has just tipped his orange juice over the table. The other two are arguing. Your partner is looking for a clean shirt. You are just standing in the middle looking at all the chaos and wondering how on earth did my day start like this?
I have had many days like this with varying scenarios. But I want to tell you right now that it doesn’t have to be like this! Or if the day does start like this, you will have a wonderful tool at your disposal to help you cope with any challenges.
Why I use mindfulness…
Over the years I have experienced many traumatic situations; two divorces, a break-up with my last partner and 17 moves around the globe. I share my personal life with you, so you can get a feel of the woman and Mum I am today. All these experiences taught me lessons and led me to the life I have now. One which I have desired, created and am now experiencing. Mindfulness was a tool I picked up many years ago. But back then, I did not fully realise what a true difference it could make to my life. As a result, I have played with it over the years not truly receiving its full benefit.
This is different for me today. Back then, I thought you had to be like a monk and sit for hours meditating. I tried this but my nose would itch, my bottom would go dead, I would open my eyes to look at the time, thinking hours had gone by only to see 2 minutes on the clock. Very similar to Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote the book ‘Eat, Love, Pray’. I think that’s why her story resonated with me so much when I first read the book. Julia Roberts played her in film. It is worth a read and a watch for the tears and laughter and joy.
A Book Recommendation
Today mindfulness can start with a 5 minute practice, but the day will come when this practise will grow because you want it too. I have this wonderful little book called ‘The Little Book of Mindfulness’ by Dr Patrizia Collard. There is a great introduction to how mindfulness arrived in the West. This is followed by a series of lovely little exercises to help you on your journey. Use mindfulness to create less stress, to let go of anxiety and procrastination. Instead create peace, energy and space to enjoy the life given to us all. Something I think we all agree we need to do.
Everyday I see that my soul desires to create and experience a life that is full of wonder and endless possibilities – not only for myself but those around me. Life happens, but being in control of how life affects us is a powerful tool we all have.
Yes I still have challenges. But I use my mindfulness before sleeping and first thing in the morning, and I find that mind and body are ready to take on whatever the day holds for me. I have experienced for a number of years that our minds and bodies are intricately linked.
Simply put one cannot be without the other.
The gift you can give yourself and those around us, in this very hectic world, is mindfulness. As you sit at the end of the day to ponder, reflect on what has been, and suddenly realise you desired, you created, you experienced your day the way you wanted to – and not that the day created, experienced or happened to you!
Happy Mind, Happy Body, Happy You!