We are well into the summer months here in Calgary, and I couldn’t be more pleased that the sun has been shining and the rain has been falling. Everywhere you look is bright and green and lush, people are outside doing things, and this is as perfect time as any time to introduce the practice of being mindful. That is; being aware, non-judgmentally, in this present moment; whatever this moment looks like for you, right here, right now.
Before you go on, pause for a brief moment. Take a deep breath in through your nose, pause at the top of your inhale, then slowly sigh it out, audibly, through your mouth. If that felt good, repeat it again. Repeat as many times as you feel necessary.
Mindfulness is a major buzz word these days. It seems everyone is talking about practicing it in a variety of forms or encouraging others in their life to slow down and “be more present”. It brings me great joy to see humans adopting this practice on the regular, and finding ways of making it uniquely their own. I truly believe that the best way to spread the joy, the message of mindfulness, is to kindly lead by example. Simply leave your device out of sight when engaging in conversation with others. Engage fully in play with a child or pet for one whole hour and see what they may be able to teach you. Find new ways of asking a fellow human how their day was, or pick something new to experience together. Become fully present during the conversation or experience in that moment. When feeling difficult emotions – and the easier ones too, allow yourself to fully feel the emotions in those moments. Then find ways to reset or relax or let go, when you find yourself ready to move on to the next moment. Pick one otherwise “mundane” task in your day to become fully present in right through to completion, expressing gratitude for all the parts along the way. Anything from brushing your teeth, washing a pot, mowing the lawn, chopping some vegetables, the walk from your car, the bus ride home to standing in line at a store.
Perhaps you feel you want to take it one step further. Do one thing every day and become fully present in that one thing. Ideally it is the same thing every day, but feel free to change it up as you like. This is, after all, your own unique practice. It needs to work for you, and only you.
Examples could include:
- Drinking your morning or evening cup of joy. No matter where I am or who I am with, my morning cup of coffee must always be consumed solo and first thing.
- Preparing for or eating or cleaning up from a meal. Being married to a foodie, I’ve grown to enjoy cleaning up after the incredible meals he cooks for me on the regular.
- Reading a chapter of a book. I’ve got a few recommendations on this particular topic; listening to a podcast, try to not do anything else at the same time.
- Some kind of physical movement, perhaps without music or a guide talking in your ears. Think qigong, yoga postures, boot camp, a bike ride, a run, a solo walk through the park.
- Some kind of stillness practice. My absolute favourite thing to share with others, as the diversity of meditation techniques continue to blow me away…anything works, so long as it brings you joy. Try my 1-Minute Outdoor Meditation to get started.
I believe that the concept of mindfulness, whose origins stem from Buddhism, is greatly inspired and influenced by the true wonders of nature itself. Think of anything that exists outside. Its sole purpose is to be present in each exact moment, to nourish itself, to grow, to give back, to be joyful. Perhaps this is why humans find being in nature so very therapeutic. I know I do. Nature does what we all want to, what we all are capable of. One last suggestion, for now. Walk barefoot in the grass. Feel the earth support you. Stand like a tree and feel the sun (or rain or snow or wind). Breathe. Invite others to do the same. Become fully present.
Jess is a certified meditation practitioner specializing in guiding you to help your mind and body find harmony through individualized sessions specifically tailored to you. She is multi-discipline trained in qigong, meditation, mindfulness and yoga. Specializing in a unique approach designed upon years of research and practice, she aims to guide you into taking time out of your busy day to re-discover your body and your mind. She’s here to support you in learning how to begin or deepen your meditation practice. If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment with Jess, please contact us or book your appointment online.