March 17, 2014

Mindfulness...


Mindfulness 
(mahynd - fuhl - nes).  Noun.

- the trait of deliberately paying attention to what is happening around you, and within you.
- done so without judgement or criticism 



"Missing the Obvious"
Miraval, Arizona


I just got back from a long weekend in Arizona getting my Zen on.  Shocker alert.  I am NOT a Zen kinda gal.  I am a total slave to my environment.  Planning what's next.  Regretting or second-guessing the past.  My brain has evolved in a sensory rich world where I can plug in and connect to wherever my mind wants to take me on whim.  And when I want to take a break from the outside world, I can turn on the television or radio to escape by tuning out everything (and everyone) else.  It's hard to let my brain just lie still and take in the moment without wandering or daydreaming.  I judge the success or failure of any given day by how much, or how little I've checked off my "to do" list.  I don't usually take into consideration WHAT specifically I've accomplished.  Maybe taking the time to really listen to what someone is telling me should be deemed be more successful than half-heartedly listening because I'm mentally planning out where I'm heading to after we are done our conversation.

Truth is, our world doesn't reward living in the moment. Especially doing so with no criticism or judgement.  And THAT is the kicker.  I had my first lessons in "mindfulness" this past weekend.  Epic fail.  Scratch that.  Eliminate judgement and it morphs into...I expanded my comfort zone and learned from it.  And just like learning how to tie your shoe,  mindfulness takes practice before it becomes second nature.  Right now, it's a foreign concept that I need to rely on a "how to" manual to navigate.

We humans are suppose to be the smart and evolved species here on Earth.  Yet those "dumb" animals are smart enough to live in the moment. "Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it."  They aren't burdened by a brain that requires constant stimulation.  They don't fill up all their time...doing.  Their time is spent...being.  They are keenly aware of their surroundings.  They sure wouldn't miss that beautiful hummingbird buzzing next to them because they are too busy sending a text message to their hair stylist rescheduling tomorrow's hair appointment due to a conflict with getting their nails done.

How much do we miss, and therefore do not get to appreciate, because we aren't mindful of what is going on around us and within us?  And how often are those times when we ARE aware of what is going on, but we accompany it with judgment and criticism.  When we do so, we negate the possibility of empathy and kindness, and we increase our stress.  Some food for thought I acquired, along with a whole heap of healthy food I ingested, this past weekend.

And that folks, is my tranquility du jour.  From the most unZen-like person I know.






P.S.  If anyone is interested in incorporating "mindfulness" into their daily lives,  I picked up the most wonderful book this weekend that I highly recommend:  How to Train a Wild Elephant by Jan Chozen Bays, MD.  Ohmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.


Here's where I'm linking up today ..."The Party's On"

Please join me on Sundays for Song-ography.
This week's song title is the Three Dog Night's "One is the Loneliest Number".

22 comments:

  1. Kathy, it sounds like your weekend was a great success. A wise physician I know has taught me to just breathe.........and it makes a world of difference in my day. Wishing you a day as special as you are.

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  2. So glad you had a great time. Some times it is SO hard to just be and breathe, but so so good for the soul, yes?

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  3. Probably the most succinct explanation of mindfulness I have read. Thank you.

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  4. Sounds as if you had a great weekend of something that does not come naturally to you. Mindfulness is such a great thing, but something that doesn't come naturally to many of us. Takes alot of practice. Love your pinks and that lovely little hummer. Nice to have some warm weather I'll bet!

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  5. I think you are TOTALLY mindful. Photography is a very mindful activity - and you have that down, girl! I am actually really into mindfulness and have done lots of trainings, have a practice, yada, yada, yada. It really has helped me deal with stress :) I am definitely going to check out that book! Now you have me curious about your trip out west.... sounds interesting. (Love the hummingbird by the way. Can you believe I have never seen one in person? Nice shot!)

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  6. Wow, yes! Being in the moment and completely engaged is a skill. This is a good post to process. One that I'll mull over.

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  7. I love soaking in the beauty of my environment... Never tried the zen mode

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  8. This makes me think!
    How many things happen around us and we are so unmindful about it. This post makes me pause and take notice of things.

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  9. Hi there - nice post and a great picture of a the hummer - I saw my first of these wonderful birds on a recent (short) trip to Arizona.

    I think I may have been thinking along similar lines to you in my most recent post - it contains an image of a tree that pretty much everyone else was ignoring, because they were looking at a famous building - and in the end I think the tree is better looking and more interesting the building!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  10. I do love to practice living in the moment. Practice, Practice, Practice....

    Awesome photo.

    Hugs~

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  11. So glad it worked well for you. Enjoy the rest of your new life!

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  12. Great reminder. Why is it so hard to live in the moment? Living in the past of in the future is not the way to live a happy life, yet we tend to do it any ways. I will try to remember to stop and live in the moment this week! Thanks.

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  13. Photography has helped me with this. It somehow really plants me in the moment, and then helps me carry it with me later. I can relate to so much of what you shared - especially the television or some other distraction to 'turn off' my mind. These last few years have been so much better...I've been able to let go of some list making and some of the stresses...but it's a daily choice. Sometimes hourly! Book looks really interesting - love things like this that give me stuff to think about in short doses...maybe that's why I love blogs so much!!

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  14. What a lovely capture - I like the soft shades of pink and red. That was very interesting to read that quote with the 'no judgement.... Phrase at the end - I'd never thought of that word like that so thank you for sharing. Yes, I can very much relate to what you've expressed here, I have a drs certificates to be off work today and I was so tempted to do some housework but instead I made the right choice and rested and slept, no tv no extra noise, it was great.

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  15. that's not what i feel during my visits here....i feel like you are really connected. give yourself a break!!

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  16. Thought worthy post....being mindful and totally in the moment is a skill that I am attempting daily!! Will definitely look for that book!!

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  17. Very interesting and witty as usual. Being mindful is something I'm afraid the up and coming generations don't have and will be a lost art from geezers like me. Xo

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  18. There's so much we could learn by slowing down -- I need a lot more practice.

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  19. The word is not in my vocabulary...
    Very nice shot of the hummingbird :-)

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