What’s it all about anyway? Can something so bland-sounding actually be powerful?
Recently three things happened, all in the same day, that highlighted for me, once again, the life-changing power of mindfulness:
1. A SNARKY QUOTE: This anonymous quote on the radio got me thinking:
“There is considerable interest in mindfulness these days – as long as it isn’t taken so far as to make one wise.”
Sarcastic, yes, but thought provoking indeed. What depth of wisdom might be reached if we lived more mindfully?
2. AN INSIGHTFUL FRIEND: I got an email from a coaching client who wrote,
“Since I’ve been practicing ‘showing up’ I’m not eating nearly as much or as often. I’m learning how to recognize what I really want. I also notice that I feel more peaceful in general. I don’t understand this yet, but I’ll take it!”
3. MY TRUTHFUL BODY: That same day I had an epiphany about my own body. She doesn’t lie. My body had been trying to tell me about some stress I’d been accumulating for quite some time, way before my mind would admit it. Tight shoulders, clinched jaw, restless feeling in my chest. My body had faithfully been sending up red flags; I had just been slow on the uptake.
I’m grateful for that day of mindful reminders.
What is it anyway?
Here’s one way of saying it…
It’s focusing your awareness on the present moment, while calmly noticing and accepting your feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, without judging them or yourself.
It’s the opposite of coasting on auto-pilot and then judging yourself harshly for it.
What does it do for you?
Being mindful helps you…
- feel “at home” in and connected to your own body
- recognize and regulate stress before it kills you
- tame the distracting (and often negative) chatter in your head
- recognize what you really want and need (no one really wants 27 Oreo’s)
- fully engage in what you’re doing – show up for your NOW
- experience more pleasure and meaning
How do I get more of it?
The simple answer: Practice. Just practice paying attention. Tune in to what your body is telling you. Lucky for us, mindfulness is a skill anyone can develop. Like a muscle, it grows and strengthens as you work it.
Now, back to our original question: Is mindfulness much ado about nothing?
Turns out it’s a profoundly powerful human capability…
In short, being a mindful person connects the real you to your real life, and to real people and real experiences in real time.
No one wants to miss all that.