HOW ARE YOU MINDFUL?

I have been thinking about this question a lot recently. Mindfulness….what is it really? How do we (I) do it? And even more importantly…how can I (we) fit this into every day life?

The term mindfulness has been all over the media, in books, in conversation. But what does it really mean? According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of the widely used Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, it is paying attention to the moment in a very specific way, with acceptance and awareness. Sounds simple…but not always easy! This is how I describe it, mindfulness is practicing focused attention on the present moment in a kind and compassionate way.

So guess what….you DO NOT have to be relaxed in the moment, or HAPPY in the moment, or even be in a quiet, peaceful environment. What a relief! So let’s imagine (and maybe even join in experientially with this one) you are sitting at home, maybe it is quiet, maybe it isn’t, notice your breathing….in breath…..out breath….in breath…..out breath…..feel the parts of your body that touch the ground……now……..what do you hear? A bird? A baby? Your breath? Listen closer, what else is there? Thoughts? Great! Just let the thoughts be there….notice them….are they busy?……are the still?……is there a moment of space between them? Now notice your breath……belly rising….and falling……ribs expanding…..and contracting…..

YOU DID IT! That was being mindful…..you paid attention, for a moment. Now especially for the mamas out there (which most of you are or soon will be)….how can you practice this with your kids? They are wonderful mindfulness teachers! Everyday, they experience something for the first time…..the first time they experience walking barefoot on the grass, the first time they feel the sensation of swimming in a pool….the first time they try an avocado! What a great way to experience the “beginner’s mind”….every moment is filled with curiosity and wonder!

My invitation to you, is to find a way to be mindful in the day….maybe with your child…..perhaps it is chaotic around you, if so….take a breath and notice the chaos.

I would love to hear how you were mindful today….your examples help to inspire the other mamas out there. Or maybe share how mindfulness helped you in a time of stress?

xo Laurel
Founder of Mindful Mamas TM

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