Mindfulness meditation is a funny thing. If you don't have a practice and don't know very much about it, you are hesitant. Leery. A little... concerned. Will this change me? Will this change my relationships? Am I going to turn into someone or something that I'm not?
But, if you do have a practice, you realize that nothing in your world has or will change. And then again, everything will change.
How can that be, you ask? Well, nothing has changed for me that many others would notice.
- I have the same friends and relatives.
- I continue to work with families and schools to provide programming that I believe will enable individuals to become their most powerful and successful selves.
- I continue to enjoy learning new information on topics I find interesting, typically in the fields of personal growth and beginner-level brain science.
- I still have trouble getting myself to exercise regularly, and stay awake at night if I'm worried about a student with whom I work.
So, what has changed? And do others notice?
- I notice my backyard more. The trees, the flowers, the breeze, and the birds amaze me as the dawn is breaking, sun is setting, or anytime in between. It's beautiful and I'm lucky to have that beauty in my life. I'm probably the only one that notices my increased attention to this.
- I'm more in touch with my emotions than I used to be. My sister used to tell me that I was sweeping everything under the carpet. She said if I didn't deal with my worries and upsets and just kept sweeping that one day I'd have a mountain in front of me with which to deal. As much as I hate to admit it, she was right. And after a lot of time and effort and deliberation, I'm not sure I've left any stone unturned as of this point in time. As a result, I am less emotionally reactive. I'd say every one of my relatives has noticed this one, especially my siblings, children, and spouse!
- I believe I am more understanding of the needs and wants of others in my life, and try to give them all the space they need to live the lives they are creating for themselves. Again, I'm sure they've noticed, and I think they appreciate the fact that I realize their lives should not revolve around mine.
- I give myself a break more often. I have much less chatter in my brain yapping at me all the time. And if it starts, I can cut it off. I notice my ability to do this, and I'm both grateful and relieved.
- I have tools in my personal toolbox; I have strategies I can use... all that benefit my interpersonal relationships, and I feel great about it.
So, you see, a mindfulness practice is not something of which you should be afraid. Rather, it is something that can lead to greater levels of appreciation and happiness on a daily basis.
Have you thought about starting a mindfulness practice? I think you should love yourself enough to do this. I hope you realize you are worth the time and effort it would take. I think you should give yourself, and everyone in your life, this gift.
- Turn all technology off for five minutes twice a day every single day.
- Take a walk outside and notice nature in all its glory.
- When you start to get upset or scared or any other strong "negative" emotion, take three deep and slow breaths, inhaling and exhaling through your nose. Notice the difference it makes in your level of emotions.
- If your brain starts yapping away at you, start listing each sound you hear around you, or start counting each inhale and exhale. You'll find it impossible for the yapping to continue while you are listing or counting.
Be grateful, appreciate, and take advantage of every bit of happiness, beauty, and glory that comes your way. And if someone notices that you seem to be a bit different, maybe calmer, just say thank you.
You don't even need to mention mindfulness meditation at all.