You may have noticed by now that I have decided to claim Monday’s as ‘Mindful Mondays’. Any post I publish on a Monday will in some way be related to intentional ways, means or captures of living in the present.
As you’d know if you’ve been reading me here at this blog and perhaps also at my previous blog, I am very much interested in learning to live life mindfully (in the present). Along with most people, I am a seeker of balance of mind, body and soul and I believe that practicing mindfulness goes a long way towards obtaining that goal.
A couple of weeks ago I posted on the subject of Living with Gratitude and spoke of the 365 Grateful Project that I did and how it helped me to slow down, notice things again (things around me – particularly nature, things happening around me, sounds I could hear etc), and reconnect to life.
I still wanted to learn more though, particularly about how I might live more in the present and achieve the best and happiest version of myself possible. I was interested in meditation and mindfulness, so a while back I attended a six-week Mindfulness Meditation Workshop that I found hugely beneficial.
Since then, as life tends to do, I got busy – with my photography studies, making and launching a new blog, family and home stuff … and well, I have realized that a lot of what I learnt at that workshop has faded in my memory and I had not kept up the practice.
I would like to give myself a bit of a refresher! If you are interested, you can come along for the ride with me – every Monday. Learn it for the first time or maybe you know a bit about this stuff but you need a refresher too!
Last week my post covered a very simple mindfulness exercise. That exercise teaches the very basics of meditating. Though I am no meditating master myself, meditation is not as complicated as you might think! Meditations require locating yourself in a peaceful environment, a reduction in external sensory input and the removal of distractions, to support the practice. Meditation is essentially a reflective activity involving a turning inwards of your mental energies. This doesn’t mean that by some miracle you have a crystal clear mind and no thoughts ever enter it. What it does mean is that you are aware of any thoughts that enter your mind. You acknowledge them and then send them on their way with a promise to deal with them later! I will talk more about meditation in later posts!
Some of you may be wondering what mindfulness is? I really like the quote by Jon Kabat-Zinn I have put on my image at the top of this post. I think it very succinctly wraps up what mindfulness means. You will understand that quote much better after a few more of my Mindful Monday posts. Until then, here is another definition by Deborah Eden Tull:
Mindfulness refers to being completely in touch with and aware of the present moment, as well as taking a non-evaluative and non-judgmental approach to your inner experience. For example, a mindful approach to one’s inner experience is simply viewing “thoughts as thoughts” as opposed to evaluating certain thoughts as positive or negative
If you are a visual person like myself – you may find the ‘Mind Full vs Mindful’ image used in last week’s post Mindful Monday: A simple mindfulness exercise to be helpful. I think it is excellent!
Over the course of the next couple of months (we may have a break here and there over the Christmas/New year period) – on Mondays – we are going to look at the 7 attitudes of mindfulness (as per Jon Kabat-Zinn). They are the major pillars of mindfulness practice and are very important. The 7 attitudes of mindfulness are:
- Beginner’s Mind
- Letting Go
Next week we will look at Non-Judging – what it means and how it applies to mindfulness.
I’m well aware that there are possibly many people out there that are rolling their eyes and boo hoo’ing all this living in the present, mindfulness, and meditation mumbo, jumbo talk and that’s ok, but it doesn’t deter me. I truly believe that in these modern days: our minds have become too busy with not enough down time; we operate at a level of stress we aren’t even aware of that is very unhealthy for us; we don’t know how to slow down our minds or even slow down to notice what is happening around us moment to moment; we are missing important and precious moments in our lives; we worry a lot about the future; we dwell a lot in the past; we do not pay enough attention to the NOW. I know this because I lived that way for a long time and my health paid the price. I am teaching myself a better way to live and I want to share what I learn with others that also feel they could benefit from learning to live this way.
I also believe the practice of Mindfulness to be very helpful particularly for middle-aged women suffering perimenopause or menopause symptoms. If you haven’t read my post last week on perimenopause you can read it HERE. You will see that some of the possible symptoms listed could be helped by the practice of mindfulness. I think we’re worth it to try all that we can to live our lives in a way that maximizes happiness and serenity – don’t you?
Living with gratitude for what you have rather than focussing on what you don’t have COUPLED WITH learning to slow down our minds and to live more in the present is the key to a happier life. If you’re interested, pop in each Monday to learn a little more.
Ciao for now,
This post is linked up with One Mother Hen’s Open Slather
Your perimenopause description alarms me…hmmmmmmmm!
Oh dear – it’s not my intention to cause alarm Lydia – just awareness! Not everyone has all or any of the symptoms I have listed. Some women get through peri-menopause and menopause with no problems at all or very few. They are the lucky ones! Any symptoms I’ve listed though are documented possible symptoms as outlined by multiple experts (coz I checked and double checked) and I think it’s important women are aware of those symptoms and that possibly perimenopause could be the cause. 🙂 x
Looking forward to these weeks ahead. I loved his (along with his wife) book everyday blessings. Have you read it?
Thanks Deb! I know Mindfulness is not everyone’s thing so it’s nice knowing someone out there is on the same page! I think it is something really worthwhile sharing. I haven’t read that book but now that you’ve told me about it, I will be seeking it out to read! Thank you! 🙂 xo
Great post, I’m going to have to head back later tonight when I have more time to read about menopause.
Ta Raychael! 🙂 FYI – The other post is on perimenopause not menopause. xo
I love that you are focusing on mindfulness. I think you should make it less of a ‘thing’ and more of a reminder in a moment. Rather than carving out time to sit and be mindful, just pick something to be mindful of. For example, every time you wash your hands, use it as a prompt to breathe properly, to feel your body, be aware of the water over your hands. My seven year old son will often sit and meditate. Yet he believes that the world needs to fit his practice. He’ll sit for a moment, then start yelling at everyone to be quiet as he’s trying to mediate. The purpose of meditation, as I am attempting to teach him, is to sit amongst the noise and calm your mind. The circumstances surrounding it does not matter, just the intention to calm.
Thanks Sarah – you’ve given some great examples of how simple and easy being mindful can be! I often practice being mindful when I’m washing up – just putting all my focus on what I feel – the water on my hands etc. It makes washing up so much more enjoyable! 🙂 Another time I make a conscious effort to be mindful is when I go to bed. I do what is called a ‘body scan’. It’s very relaxing! The time when I find I am the most ‘naturallly’ mindful (with no conscious effort) is when I am taking photographs. Is it any wonder that I love photography!! I’m not sure what you mean by making it less of a *thing* but my aim with these Monday posts is to de-mystify and simplify what mindfulness means as well as pointing out the benefits of giving it a go. 🙂 xo
I am going to enjoy your Monday post, something I am looking forward to and knowing more about x
Excellent post on perimenopause too, I see some of those symptoms already 😮
Thank you Alicia! 🙂 xo
Learning to slow down, be mindful is quite hard with 3 little ones but something I know is worth it. I DO take time and now stop before I say what I think when they’re driving me up the wall. Thanks for this post. Please re-post during school holidays!! Em x
It is very hard with little ones Em! I know that I did not do it when I had little ones. I wasn’t even aware of trying to be mindful. Pop in on a Monday during the school hols and there will be a post here to remind you 😉 x
I am very interested to read more next week.
Thank you Ann. I look forward to seeing you next Monday 🙂 x
I just happened upon your blog, and read it. I do a lot of reading on these long Covid days.
So THANK YOU for posting the 7 Attitudes of Mindfullness – I had them memorized at one time… I have been doing meditation for a long time, and I came upon Dr. Kabat-Zinn who is the originator of Mindfullness [in the modern context]
Speaking of modern, it is amazing that Meditation has been done for “1000s of years” and yet so few do it today. It is REAL it really HELPS us “be where we live” in the present,
Thanks again, good to be reminded.
Hi Kev – I’m so glad you’ve found this post helpful. I agree that Dr Kabat-Zinn is quite amazing and that meditation does help to still our minds and be more present. I need the reminder too. I think we all do!