SELF CARE A TO Z: MINDFULNESS

I’ve proclaimed loudly and repeatedly through my blog that I’m determined to have a Mindful Midlife. My plan was to be present, to really feel my butt in my chair, and take time to notice the texture of the steering wheel as I drive my kids to practice. I planned to carve more time out for me to read, write, or make pretty things. I planned to really embrace the groups of women that I’m fortunate enough to call friends and forge our new path through this middle-age terrain. I planned to sometimes have Yes! days, weeks or years where if someone asked me to do something, the answer would be an enthusiastic, “Yes!” I thought I had it all figured out, …until I figured out that is not really what mindfulness is.

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For me, the upside of COVID-19 is that I finally did a deep-dive into mindfulness and although I’ve only been practicing “regularly” for the last year, I feel like this has been exactly what I needed and long overdue. I used to avoid it by saying “I don’t have time” or “I can’t sit still that long” and I rationalized that I already knew what I wanted. Even now, I still argue with myself just as often as I turn to it. The difference is, this time I’m committed to growing a practice because I felt the positive impacts within weeks. Does that mean I have a consistent daily routine? Absolutely not. But it does mean that more often than not, I turn to it when I’m feeling life gets heavy to carry around on my own.

There are so many teachers, methods of practice, and definitions of what mindfulness is, and just as many benefits that come from it. The explanation that softened my objections and sharpened my curiosity was presented by Allan Weiss, the founder of Mindful USC: Mindfulness is the ability to pay attention to whatever arises in the present moment and to do so without judgement, being receptive and non-reactive.

Mindfulness is...
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At the same time someone explained that we all have our head in the clouds – really, knotted hairballs of electricity constantly in motion around our head representing everything we have to do, respond to or remember. But we have the ability to duck our head from the crown of chaos, check in with ourselves, find peace, and ground ourselves before returning to chaos with restored energy and focus. 

Immediately, I noticed that taking a pause and closing my eyes felt wonderful, I appreciated checking in with myself each day. By using guided meditations, I was able to drop out of my stressful workday. Now just hearing my beginning chime pulls me from my day to a new level. I am enjoying exploring many programs, apps, and methods and look forward to sharing them – and hearing how you bring mindfulness to your day. Another Mindful USC instructor Michael Krass states that Mindfulness is: Checking in with yourself and seeing what you want to share most with the world.

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For me my end goal is to help people figure out their true passions and get on that authentic path as early as possible. I have this idea that we all know what it is we really want to do deep down inside but we may get side tracked by what we feel is practical or because we don’t yet have an idea of how to earn a living from feeding our passions or because we’re too influenced by other people’s narratives. Life is too short and we owe it to ourselves to be mindful with ourselves and with others.

What about you:

Do you have a mindfulness practice? What brought you to mindfulness? How often do you practice? Do you have any questions for me? What have you heard about mindfulness?

If you want to wander along with me on this journey and learn about different forms of mindfulness techniques and the benefits I feel (or not), subscribe with your email and you will receive my new for 2022 monthly newsletter filled with lots of things I have learned and loved while traveling through this mindful midlife!

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47. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU NOTICED THE SOUND OF YOUR OWN BREATHING?

From the second I opened the office door late last week, the din of heavy traffic welcomed me as my boss headed directly towards me with a smile. I ducked out of his way waving pleasantries as he passed through. I’d deposited my purse in the drawer, unlocked the computer, when suddenly he reappeared.  Quickly, I jumped into the traffic flow to get some answers. Finally, upon returning to my desk, parking myself in the seat, a large cleansing breath escaped my lips startling me! I joked to my co-pilot, that it was far too early for that.

...and repeat.

…and repeat.

Apparently the distress and detox yoga dvd that my daughter and I did the night before couldn’t hold back the combination of work, life and finals. During the video, careful care was taken to feature the gal’s diaphragm demonstrating correct inhaling and exhaling form.  Apparently we weren’t focused enough on breathing because my daughter noticed, before I commented, that the video focused a majority of the time on the girl’s boobies – from every angle.

Finally, for my make-believe half-marathon training – which will come to life when my class work ends next Tuesday – I’ve started climbing the stairs at work when possible.  Even when I trained 6 days a week for a ½ ironman, stairs still always winded me.  So to counter this, I started my marathon breathing to climb the stairs.  Two quick breaths in, two quick breaths out and this results in me restoring the ability to speak faster than usual.

No, I get it, the point is, when did I just sit alone with myself and focus on my breathing? I also am aware that things will leap off the page to you when you need them the most. The tricky part is that one receives and applies the advice in a timely manner.  So today, you have my word, after finishing voiceover for one finals project and before diving into my draft of my finals paper for my other class, I will drop off my kids, retreat to my favorite corner of the world, let the sunshine hit my face, the caffeine course through my veins, and let the breaths come slow and steady.

Unlimited fresh air and perspective to inhale!

Unlimited fresh air and perspective to inhale!

What about you?
When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
If you answer, drop your links in the comments!
This question came from Marc & Angel’s 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind

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