Improve your life with Mindfulness

Wisdom of Weeding Series

I’ve always thought mindfulness meant paying attention.  Instead of using a “grab and go” technique to quickly reduce the appearance of 5 ugly vestiges among my flowers, instead I must carefully look at each individual weed to determine the correct location to pull it up by it’s  roots, for root extraction is required to reach my goal of permanently removing pesky disturbances from my yard.

Today I learned that while weeding is a good example of focus, there is a lot more I could and should do to improve my mindfulness. In this post I share just a few of the highlights of my personal exploration. I learned from Living Well that UNmindfulness includes a whopping list of my personal shortcomings when my mind is not connected to what my ears, mouth or hands are doing:

  • Breaking things, spilling things, clumsiness, accidents because of carelessness, inattention or thinking about something else (making a mess)
  • Being preoccupied with the future or the past (worry)
  • Eating without being aware of eating (mindless munching) and other times where you have difficulty remembering the details of what happened (running on autopilot).
  • Reacting emotionally – feeling like an emotion just “came out of nowhere” (erupting)
  • Doing several things at once rather than focusing on one thing at a time (multi-tasking)

The recognition that these foibles could be improved with mindfulness, led to the next question of  “how” I could take control of what seems like unconscious behavior.  Unquestionably for me, it means  trusting my higher power, prioritizing,  practicing gratefulness, and purposely focusing on doing well whatever I am doing. It requires me to stay centered.

Newsweek’s Special Edition on Mindfulness includes an amazing visualization exercise by Kristin McGee that I excerpted below to best resonate with my little brain, so I can use it daily.

Reflection of Snowcapped Maroon Bells in fall, at sunrise.

Imagine your mind as a pristine lake…or whatever enclosed body of water that presents a most pleasing image to you.

Now imagine that pebbles begin falling into the water, just a few at first, but before long there is a monsoon of pebbles assaulting your lake. Imagine that each pebble represents an idea or stressor that is your mind during the course of a day. Envision how the ripples create a cumulative affect on your psyche. Each phone ring, bing, alert, and other disturbance create a violent splash where the water was once tranquil and calm

Now follow the pebble down to the lake’s bottom, falling through liquid, coming to rest with a curious grace, like tiny inanimate cranes coming to rest after effortless flybys. Now look up and notice that as the pebbles fell, while you were invested in their moment of  transit, the lake becomes calm once again.

Join me in a week of mindfulness,  really making contact with people, listening to your senses, stilling your mind, letting go and enjoying the moment.

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