When I think back on the last year, there is so much I could say about 2020. I think for a period of time, it was literally used as a curse word around here. It was one of the hardest time periods I had ever experienced in my entire life, but it led me to a season of discovery, one that dare I say… was worth it!
I was introduced to the art of mindfulness, and I can say with confidence that I am never going back.
Now, when I say mindfulness, I’m sure a few of you are like “mind-what?” And honestly, I was right there with you last year. When a doctor and my counselor both mentioned this term to me, I knew it was something worth digging deeper into. Right off the bat, I assumed mindfulness was something that only yogis practiced, and while I do love a good yoga session, I haven’t ever been able to commit to that lifestyle. But after further digging, I discovered that mindfulness is not just a mindset, but rather a WHOLE ENTIRE VIBE.
This quote by James Baraz explains it best:
“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”
As far back as I can remember, I have always been a ‘feeler.’ I don’t hide my emotions well, but instead, I tend to just feel them all at once (which is also not a great option). Being mindful has helped me navigate the space between repressing my feelings and being overwhelmed by them; it serves as the perfect middle ground. Like the quote said, it is all about acknowledging your emotions, sitting with them, allowing your thoughts to ruminate, but all within your control.
Now, what this looks like will probably be different for everyone. Honestly, it’s different for me depending on the day. Overall though, it looks like focusing on the now, celebrating the good, enduring the hardships, and remembering that every single moment is fleeting, so try to let it be what it will be. There are a few things that have been incredibly helpful for me, and I hope that they will help a few of you as well!
Creating a “pause time” – This is the best way I could visualize it for myself. It is a literal pause in my day where I choose to stop and just feel whatever I am feeling at that moment. It is a baby step but has been such an eye-opener for me.
The Insight Timer app – This is the app that I use during some of those pause times. They have so many great guided meditations. This was all new for me, so I started with some of the beginner ones and went from there.
- Remembering that this is all new and giving myself grace upon grace upon grace – Practicing mindfulness is like trying to rewire your brain, which is no small task! This is going to take time, but it is worth it.
Someone shared this analogy with me, and it has stuck – imagine you are sitting on the side of the road, and your thoughts are cars passing by. Sometimes they will just drive on by, other times they will circle around and pass you again, but at the end of the day, the cars are just cars. We don’t have to jump in and ride with every single one. Our thoughts and feelings deserve to be acknowledged and processed through, but we also need to remember that we have control over how that is done. We choose which car to get in and drive around with, we choose which thoughts we ruminate on and which ones we let pass on by.
Having this “ah-ha” moment and realizing that I have the power over my thoughts and feelings has truly changed my outlook on life. It has given me the freedom to feel my feelings all while remembering that they are temporary.
What are your thoughts on mindfulness? If you have any other helpful tips, drop them below!