Mindfulness or the state of being aware, being present, being here and now. It is a state of noticing without judging how you feel, what you see, what you hear and just the simplicity or definition of the moment. In theory, this practice does not sound difficult, in practice it can be very difficult. This is the very reason it is called a mindfulness practice....we must continually practice. In our lives we do not remember entire days, entire weeks, months or years, we remember moments. Moments or snapshots in time of events or a beautiful scene or a feeling that was strong enough to cause us to pay attention to it. One of the delightful things I have found in practicing mindfulness is that it causes me to remember more of my life and life events because I am actually present for them, I notice, I pay attention, I record the memory to recall later.
Interesting personal story- I have an amazing friend that I met in college way more years ago than I will admit to! At that point in my life I had never heard of the concept of mindfulness and I am pretty certain she had not either. However, despite not being aware of the concept and practice of it she had a practice of her own that when I look back on was mindfulness. My friends and I could be doing anything- just random daily events of college and she would say to us "let's stop and remember the moment". I remember more moments from college from that - the prompt to stop, pay attention and take a mental picture than the other events that happened. Years and years later when I would discover the mindful craze I immediately thought of my dear friend Amy Walker.
This being present takes work but is so worth the effort and becomes easier the more it is practiced. I fully believe that it is a practice that is worth the effort, it was life changing for me. I create programs around learning and implementing mindfulness into my own daily life. I also create programs and try to help others to implement it into their daily lives. I talk about it, I sneak it in conversations and I have people do mindful exercises often without expressing others what it is. I get around eventually to sharing and defining it for them but what I want is to spread this idea to any and everyone anyway I can. Here is a secret technique I use (not so secret anymore) I use reflective listening practice to help people be mindful. You know that glazed look some people get when you talk and you know they aren't really "present"? I like to take that moment and without defining it I like to invite them back into the conversation and the present by simply asking " are you listening"? Most people say yes even if they were not so then I ask another question "what did you hear me say"? Ah ha most of the time they can't tell you BUT in that interaction you have brought them back to the present and you now have a chance to either repeat what you said and ask them to recall it back to you or even if you do not choose to repeat it you have done a mindful exercise with them!
I love technology and use it a great deal for my work and personally but many people (me included at times) miss out on many potentially awesome life moments because we try to check email, FB, twitter and talk to someone all at the same time....not mindful at all. Our minds are best focused on one thing at a time but this busy, hurry world tries to force us to multi task all the time. We do not complete anything as successfully as we could if we are doing more than one thing at a time. We actually get less done by trying to do many things at once. Another simple mindful technique I like is using a list. Write down what you need to accomplish, start with the first task. Complete the first task and mark it off while taking a moment to think about it, what you did, how you feel about it and make is a snapshot moment for you. Then and only then move on to the second task and do the same thing, I promise you will get more accomplished.
Take away tips
1- try the reflective listening trick with a few people and see how it goes. Also share this with a friend and challenge them to use it with others including you and see what happens.
2-create at least 3 snapshot moments a day by stopping, looking, listening and feeling and take a mental picture of that event and BAM you have created 3 memorable moments. You could even start a mindful journal and write them down or create a drawing about them. Be creative and have fun!
love and light