I love Jon Kabat Zinn’s description of mindfulness as … Living Your Life As If It Really Matters…
and that means really being here for it, with Awareness and with a certain degree of self kindness towards oneself
and with an understanding of the deep inter-connectedness of all life and of all being.
Why not live your life as if it really matters – be present for it
He stresses that this understanding doesn’t come from the intellect but, from directly connecting with the totality of your being so really just ‘being present’ or ‘living fully in the moment’.
Why not live your life as if it really matters – Be grateful
That’s why you can practice Mindfulness in all the ordinary moments of your everyday life.
You don’t even need to close your eyes. Just as often as you remember take a few seconds or minutes to ‘be here now’, maybe even glad to be alive! It may be helpful to create some reminders because the remembering is the difficulty.
We have been practicing being ‘lost’ in thinking for such a long time, it takes awhile to create a new habit.
Here are a few ideas / reminders you could use to cultivate mindfulness in all the moments of your day.
Practical Reminders for Living your life as if it really matters
Everytime you are stopped, use it as an opportunity to ‘breath’. Just, move all your attention to your breathing and enjoy a few conscious breaths. Notice the sense of spaciousness you create when you escape the commentary in the mind – even briefly.
Standing in a queue
This can be a great chance to check your posture and notice how you are standing? Is your back uplifted? your shoulders back? , your heart open, your head up or are you slouched and clenched. What are you embodying? You may choose to make some adjustments and notice the difference this makes to how you feel immediately.
In a conversation
Notice if you are listening and attending to the other person fully? or are you caught up in a story in your head, preparing your answer, distracted by your phone… You can actually listen fully – to the sound / tone of their voice, their body language while having a sense of your own presence – your feet on the floor, the aliveness in your body.
Eating a meal or having a cup of tea
Why not taste it? Smell it? Feel the heat of the cup in your hand? Savour the pleasure of eating / drinking / resting.
Why not live your life as if it really matters – Do something you love
It’s your one and only life so why not?
… maybe walking in nature, listening to birdsong, feeling the air caressing your skin, seeing colour / texture / light / shade.
or listening to music – not analysing it but REALLY listening with your whole body and heart;
or swimming in the sea and letting yourself feel the cold water as you get in and the way the ocean holds you and lifts you
or whatever else you love
… and remembering to stay present (in your body / with your breath) moment by moment as much as you can instead of ‘lost’ in the story in your head – thoughts / feelings that try to lead you away and absorb all your attention.
There is a reason why Mindfulness has been practiced for thousands of years, even more than all the benefits to mental and physical health. When we are present and live mindfully, we get out of our heads and into our hearts. We experience life more deeply and begin to see that the small things aren’t small after all. Whether it is the sound of the wind or our child’s laughter, the smell of freshly cut grass or homemade soup, the feel of an embrace or the warmth of the sun…we notice and savour the sublime in the most ordinary moments of each day …. the moments that make up our whole life.
“Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life” – Mary Oliver
This blog was written by Joanne O’Malley, Mindfulness at Work.