There’s nothing wrong with contemplating the past or future. Weighing the outcomes on a decision, however big or small. Reacting to something we experience – a bitter taste, a delayed meeting, a moment of displeasure or excitement. There’s nothing wrong with worrying or venting or becoming distracted. But do not spend all of your time there. In fact, spend little time within these spaces. The ability to control outcomes lies within the present moment. Stay here. Live here. Thrive here. Drink it up. Every sound, every sight, every taste, every feeling and sensation – the good ones and the bad ones and the neutral ones. The thoughts that do not serve you, let those go. Replace them with thoughts that make you feel alive. The thoughts that wrap you with love, inspiration, and feelings of peace will revive your soul. And then, most important of all, let those thoughts go – the good ones and the bad ones and the neutral ones. Let them go so you can live within this moment. This one that we have right now and will never have again.
To Practice Mindfulness, Become an Observer
We live in a social world where people feel the desire to be heard and seen and noticed. Feel empowerment in voicing your opinions and beliefs, feel the goodness that rushes through your body when you are acknowledged or credited for your skills and talents. Do that, but also be an observer. Notice the lessons others are sharing, the stories they’re telling… feel the goodness that rushes through your body when you discover (or rediscover or seek out or stumble upon) a little piece of nature’s beauty. Watch the birds swooping through your yard, notice their coloring, and explore your curiosities about them. Feel the embrace of an old friend and the feelings of support and love that are exchanged in this moment. Listen to the trees swaying as their leaves brush against each other in the wind. Let it make you feel both larger than life and a small speck on this earth.
Action: Take a walk in nature and notice what you might normally miss. Observe the actions of a living being – your spouse, your child, your dog, a stranger out the window, or a spider on the wall – interacting with the world around them.
To Practice Mindfulness, Turn Down the Volume of Your Thoughts to Turn Up Your Vibration
Hi, I see you there. I hear you. But now you are free to go.
This is how we approach thoughts in meditation and this is how we can approach thoughts in our daily lives in order to separate ourselves from the constant flow of fears, judgments, dreams, etc. Some days are easier than others when it comes to quieting the chatter in our minds. Work at it each day until it becomes part of your process. Not every thought that enters our minds will be one we’re proud of. Notice these too. And then change them into what you would prefer to hear. Change them to what is actually true. Change them enough times, and they will change you.
Action: When you’re driving in your car, take a moment to list 5 things you’re grateful for. There is nothing that turns down the volume of your thoughts quicker than focusing on all that you have. It will be so easy to list 5, you’ll want to keep going.
To Practice Mindfulness, Be Here Now
Through the good moments and the moments we’d rather rush through, be here now. Sit with intention, breathe deeply, absorb all of the happiness of a moment in your life – even the most ordinary of moments. This is the moment you have. Embrace it, and then let it go free.
Action: Try to meditate for 1 minute per day. Or more. Sit, breathe, and you can even repeat a positive affirmation or mantra such as “I am here now.”
To Practice Mindfulness, Accept that You Will Mess It Up
That’s why it’s called a practice. You try. You do it. You try. You do it. You try again. You do it again. You get better at it. It becomes second nature. It makes you feel good and the more you notice these good feelings, the more you will live intentionally and within the present space. Know that every moment will not be lived with intention. You will stumble and get sidetracked and get caught up with new Snapchat filters and trashy gossip headlines in line at the grocery store and the pressure of getting your to do list completed and the demands of others and the guilt you feel when you don’t meet others’ expectations. So mess up, and then return to the present moment as if it were your cue to come back – just as you are.
Action: Forgive yourself for “bad” thoughts. Judgmental thoughts, self-critical thoughts, mean thoughts, jealous thoughts. Forgive yourself endlessly and always.
“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters.” – Buddha
What you do now is what matters. Live in the now.