March 6, 2015

Everyday Mindfulness

Mindfulness means being in the present moment in an open, non-judgmental way. We're not mindful if we abandon our bodies and escape into our thoughts. We're not mindful if we resist: if we want life to be different from how it actually is. Though we spend ample time in trance, we can begin again in any moment. We can take three intentional breaths or walk while feeling the bottoms of our feet or notice the sounds around us.

Regular meditation provides a path to mindfulness. But this practice is buoyed by small pauses throughout the day, what I call everyday mindfulness. There are many places to pause, so the process is personal. Each of knows best which practices stick with us. Each of knows best where there's breathing room in our days or where we most need a mindful pause. And we learn by trying things, experimenting, and paying attention.

A contented life requires both intention and attention. What are my intentions for this moment, this day, or this practice? How can I bring my full attention to my chosen purpose? I ask and answer these questions most easily when I'm mindful. Just like fear feeds fear, presence feeds presence.

Here's a a list of everyday mindfulness practices, to which I'll add regularly:
Red lights
Hello and goodbye
Sensory experience
A Meaningful Thank You
How do you want to be remembered?
Hug Someone
Slow the Pace
Just Like Me
Watch a Tree
Gratitude Practice
Intentional Break from Technology
Waiting Practice
Morning Routine
Gratitude Buddy

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  1. I have been to stressed to comment! How crazy is that. I need to slow down before it goes to fast. Beautiful thoughts Joy. I discovered that I'm a thinker but I act like if it's expected for me to be an outgoing person. Doing lots of things now that I don't want to do but at least now I know that.

    1. i'm a well-trained extrovert, from years of thinking that's what the world needed and that's who i was supposed to be. when i left academia, my students couldn't believe it--they couldn't believe my daily "performances" in the classroom weren't true to me. i guess i can be an outwardly-genuine extrovert, but my true nature is to look inward; to reflect and be quiet; and to connect with people in intimate, deep ways.

      i'm glad you had this realization. that's the first step. and yay for that!

  2. Ha ha ha Joy what you describe is ME! People can't believe i'm a quiet person that "pretends" as you said. WOW why don't people talk about that more often? To realize this takes time and courage. I think many would need some help on the way. Thank you for a huge smile.