Mindfulness for the Masses
"I can't do mindfulness, it doesn't sit right with me."
"I don't like the mindfulness aspect because it feels weird."
"Mindfulness will take me away from God."
I've heard all of those things before in regard to mindfulness practices. I thought initially that mindfulness would somehow injure my faith. Then I tried it. Know what? It didn't. It actually helped!
Mindfulness can take on any shape you give it. It can be all about praising the earth and praying to the gods and whatnot, or it can be as simple as sitting still and observing. Most often, mindfulness starts with just noticing. Noticing your breathing, your sitting, your feet. From there, it might move on to something more in depth, or even a guided imagery meditation. The other week, I had the pleasure of being able to partake in such a meditation where we sat on a bench with Jesus. And let me tell you, it was the most moving practice I've ever participated in.
Mindfulness does have power within it. It has the power to improve pain, alleviate stress and anxiety, and allows you to be more aware of your emotions and reactions. As someone who never practiced mindfulness up until a year ago, I would've called BS on the thought that it can do all those things. "Sitting and breathing can do all that for me?" It's true. Once you experience the shift, there's no turning back. You become more aware of when you're upset or angry and you can address it internally immediately instead of flying off the handle at your family. You're able to spend more quality time with the people around you because you have the ability to be fully present and aware of all that is happening around you.
If you've never practiced mindfulness before but are curious, try sitting up straight, but not rigid, place your feet on the floor, and close your eyes. Take 3 slow, deep breaths, in through your nose, and slowly out through your mouth. As you inhale, notice any areas of tension,
and as you exhale focus on breathing that tension away. Then, just take a moment to notice your normal breathing. Notice how the air feels coming in through your nose and how it feels coming out. Notice how your legs feel on your chair or how your feet feel on the ground. It doesn't have to take long, just a moment or two, but it can be a game changer during a stressful day. The beauty of this is that you need literally nothing to do this, just your breath (which, I'm assuming you'd have or we have bigger problems). You can stop at any point in your day and do this and no one would know the difference, but you would.
I invite you to try this simple practice and let me know how it lands for you. Sometimes it takes some time to notice the full benefits, but that's why it's called a practice. I hope that you find it as helpful as I did and if you have any questions or comments, please let me know! I'd love to hear from you.