composed of nows.”
There is a type of meditation called Mindfulness, where you are being very present in what you are thinking and feeling, using absolutely no energy whatsoever toward judgment. Mindfulness should not entertain any thoughts surrounding what has taken place in the past or what might happen in the future. In this state, we do not worry about how we will feel in 30 minutes, or what we felt emotionally ten days ago. Mindfulness is one great meditational way to be in the Now Moment. During this experience, we recognize the feelings and sensations we are having, and we are looking at them as they are occurring in our life, but we accept their existence without reacting. Most importantly, the Now Moment is not judged as being good or bad, right or wrong, acceptable or unacceptable. It just is. I am sure you have heard the term, “Being“; well, that is what you are doing when in the Now Moment.
I found a wonderful article by Erin Lanahan, about being fully present in the moment, entitled “Freedom is Where my Feet Are”. Click here for article.
The enduring message she describes is that if we feel chaotic or overwhelmed, we can simply focus on our feet. By doing this simple task, we can start again to be in the present. I love this! As my mind churns away with what I have done or left undone, or what I have waiting for me and is looming on the horizon; by seeing my feet, I can return to home base. My feet are on the grass, they are in my favorite shoes, they are touching warm sand, my toenails are painted bright happy red, my feet are tanned from the sun. You get it – I am right here, right now and paying attention to my feet. It stops me from awful-izing, it keeps me on solid ground and rests my crazy chaotic thoughts; it allows me to breathe properly simply from awareness. It is very, very alive!
We need mindfulness to slow us down from worry, anger, fear, frustration and stress. If you are not into your feet, simply find a nice place to sit and experience what is around you, indoors or out. Perhaps a blue bird is singing in the tree near you, the sun is setting in front of you and filling the horizon with oranges and hues of red and yellow, your hands or fingers may be touching a stone wall, wooden bench or overstuffed chair and you can feel the roughness, softness and temperature of each surface. Perhaps there is a book on your lap and you can determine its weight and edges as it rests on your legs without looking at it. You can’t think back or forward if you are here.
Practice: Feel the Stone, Click the Shutter
Here are some opportunities for being in the Now Moment that you can try as practice. Don’t be deceived at how simple they may seem. Only “seeing” what is immediately in front and around you does require some behavior changes, nothing more.
- Doing your exercise routine: change to walking outside and do not wear an i-pod or ear buds or cell phone. As you walk, experience what the surface of the path or road feels like and describe it in your mind. Deep Breathe in some air through your nose. What does it smell like? Is someone burning wood or can you pick up on floral, moss or other greenery? Feel the movement of your hips and breath, and get a sense of the rhythm that is created. Look to the left and right of you, what colors are most prominent as you move forward? Look ahead of you and decide if what you see is worthy of a photo; if you see something that you like, click the shutter in your head and put it in your memory. Pick up a chestnut or stone and hold it in your hand. Where are the ridges on it, the smooth sides, what size is it, what hand does it fit best in?
- Go to the beach and remove your shoes. Push your feet deep into the sand and feel it squish up between your toes. Is it wet? Is it cool or very warm? Where is the sun in relation to where you are sitting or standing and how is it making contact with your skin? What about the sound of the waves, big, small, loud, quiet? Walk on the part of sand that almost touches the water. Feel the step-push, step-push as you make your way along. Count how many steps it takes to get from one stone marker to the next? Pick up a stone. See something memorable? Click the shutter.
- If you are riding on a train or bus or other transportation, look at people around you. Take this time to put down your phone or tablet and simply be in the same space as those you see. What do you notice? Are they all swaying in the same direction as the car moves? How many are smiling? Describe to yourself the people waiting on the platforms of the stops along the way. What are the colors they are wearing as you pass by? Is that last train stop a perfect image of ones that you have often seen in a magazine? Click the shutter.
- Start or enter a conversation with someone. Notice their eyes; what color and shape are they? How expressive is this person when they talk to you? Are you close together or far apart? Where are you most relaxed when standing in their presence? What is the topic you are discussing; is it something you know about or are you learning new information? Perhaps you would like to think about it more later; click the shutter. How are you listening, are you listening? Are they listening to you? Where is your focus? Does this interaction feel comfortable like a stone in your palm? Where are the smooth or rough surfaces?
Being mindful is relatively easy, but it does require your full attention. Once you commit to giving it a try, you pretty much can do it anywhere if you are willing to set the time aside for 10 – 15 minutes. The hard part is leaving the soothing and stress-less mindfulness time, and returning to the busy-ness that takes up the majority of our lives.
Excerpt from Let GO and Let LOVE: Survivors of Suicide Loss Healing Handbook, published by CreateSpace, $12.87, paperback and e-book available 09/2015.
CONTACT: Gabrielle Doucet firstname.lastname@example.org