Posts tagged mindfulness
Cultivating Mindfulness in Our Everyday Lives

All month we’ve been talking about mindfulness, and today I want to leave you with some practices that will help you to begin cultivating mindfulness in your everyday.
What is mindfulness? The term gets thrown around a lot these days. It’s particularly hot and trendy to talk about mindfulness…but what does it really mean?

To be mindful is to pay attention to what’s actually happening in your experience.

It sounds so obvious that you would think, “aren’t we always doing that?” Actually no.
More often than not we are lost in thought. Our minds like to live in the past and in the future. You might catch yourself replaying or reliving something in the past, OR you’re planning for or fixating on something that’s happening in the future. Neither of those places is right here, right now. While it’s super easy for our minds to get caught up in the past or future OUR BODY, lucky for us, is always in the present moment.

Our body is our number one resource for cultivating mindfulness. 

There are tremendous benefits to cultivating mindfulness:

  • We have a depth of connection with ourselves and people around us.

  • We experience less depression and less anxiety.

  • We have a greater overall sense of wellbeing as well as a confidence in our ability to handle what comes up.

I want to leave you with what, in retreats, we refer to as “S.S.S.” These are practices you can take with you anywhere, anytime and we like to call them “doorways to the now.”  

The Three S’s

The first is SILENCE. Now, before you go thinking you have to run off and meditate for hours a day or something ridiculous, it doesn’t mean that. It just means taking a pause to notice the silence that underlies everything.
I like to do this in the first moment I get in the car, before I buckle my seatbelt or put the keys in the ignition. I just pause, take a breath and sink in to being present with what I’m doing.
Those types of little moments really add up over time. It could be before you walk out the door, before you get dressed in the morning…I have a meditation teacher that would tell you to do this when you sit down to pee. Everybody pees and you do it multiple times a day so it’s the perfect place to just pause and get present to the silent and stillness. Even if it’s noisy! What’s so interesting is that when you start practicing this one, you start to notice the silence is always there, even when it’s vague.
The second S is SENSING. Awaken your senses. you can put your attention on one sense to start. Just listen. Just look. Just smell.
A great place to start practicing this is when you wash your hands. Of all the times per day you wash your hands, could you tell me if the water was hot or cold, or what it felt like? Do you appreciate the feeling of your hands touching each other? Awaken your world to the senses around you.
The third S -- SAY YES. Whatever is happening in your experience, can you say, “yes?” Stop fighting or pushing it away and just allow it to be there.
There is traffic and you’re sitting in it, you’re tense…that little part of you inside is just saying, “no.” You don’t want things to be this way, and you just want out. Saying an internal no is only going to cause you suffering. So, how can you say, “yes?”  Notice how your whole world can soften and open up inside of that acceptance.
You can practice S.S.S. all together, all at once.
Imagine your alarm goes off at 5:30 am. Your natural instincts make you say “no,” but if you practice S.S.S. you pause for a moment to appreciate the silence. You feel the weight of your body on the bed and the sheets on your skin. It’s time to get up. You say,” yes,” to this day, “yes” to getting started and “yes” to life.
I offer this as a starting point. Starting in the body, right where you are is perfect. Remember S.S.S. You don’t have to do them all at once; if you can just remember one “S” during any given moment and tap into that it will help bring you into whatever moment in which you find yourself. Anytime we can be more present we experience greater fulfillment—ALWAYS.

What am I really available for? A simple practice to help you get clear.

I want to offer you a tool that I use on a regular basis.
I tend to pull this out when I’m feeling confused or unsure. What recently brought me to do it is that I’m grappling with a big decision where I’m a little unclear, so I’m taking a pause to anchor myself to my commitments and what works for me.
I learned this exercise from the brilliant Darla LeDoux. If you missed the podcast episode interview I did with her about living a heart-led life be sure to check it out!
This practice is SO simple but so powerful. It goes like this:
Grab a sheet of paper and split it down the middle.
Label one side “I’m available for…” and label the other side, “I’m not available for...”.
You can make your lists one of two ways:

1. Brain-dump everything you are available for on one side and then move to the other side and brain-dump everything you are not available for.
2. Bounce from one side to the other and make your way down the list.

It can be very powerful to read your list out loud. Seriously. Go to the bathroom mirror and read the list out loud to yourself. Watch this video to where I read mine aloud.
This was my list:

I am available for making wholehearted choices--wholehearted yeses and nos.

I am not available for making decisions out of obligation or pressure.

I am available for clear boundaries and firm deadlines.

I am not available for fixed rules that leave no room for my heart or spirit’s guidance.

I am available for honoring my own rhythms and cycles.

I am not available for playing by somebody else’s rules.

I am available for learning growing and expanding

I am not available for getting distracted by the next opportunity or thinking that I need something else before I start.

I am available for supporting people to live a heart-lead life.

I am not available for people who aren’t willing to take committed actions.

I am available for being supported.

I am not available for doing it all alone.

I am available for twists and turns that end up in magical unexpected places.

I am not available for spinning my wheels trying to figure it all out.

I am available for courageous leaps of faith.

I am not available for ignoring my heart.

I invite you to do this practice. Read it out loud to yourself and really FEEL the power of what you are, or are not, available for.
Share with me what shows up for you! Comment below or connect with me on social media. I always love to hear from you.