Mindfulness is being aware of our experiences in the present moment of our lives. It is a way of letting go of the distractions from the past, planning for the future, being critical of others and ourselves. Practicing mindfulness is a way of knowing what is going on within and all around us without judgment, and with acceptance. Mindfulness allows us to embrace the simple joys of living, which leads to happiness and well-being, not only for ourselves but also for those around us.
There are several ways to bring mindfulness into our lives. Being one with nature is a beautiful way to experience mindfulness - paying attention to the landscape and using your senses to see the beauty of the flowers and trees, the smell of the air that rises in your nostrils as you breathe in, the rustling of the leaves, perhaps even the silence, and the feel of the petals or the grass beneath your feet. Find a grassy area in the park or your backyard where you can lie on the ground and feel the earth below you bringing up her healing energies, focusing on your breath, checking in with each fiber of your being, from head to toe and toe to head. Allow the sun to be warm on your face, notice the breeze that blows across your body. Become one with the earth, releasing any thoughts you may be having and experiencing this wondrous connection of life itself.
Set aside time each day for mindfulness meditation. Focus your entire attention on your breath and nothing else. You can do this with your eyes open or closed. If you find your mind wandering, wanting to be elsewhere or bringing your thoughts back to something that's bothering you, gently take a deep breath and bring your awareness back to this meditative state, being present in the moment of the stillness.
Practice mindfulness when you cook, clean, do laundry or when you eat. It is wonderful just to be completely present when doing these activities and not view them as chores for daily living. Be fully engaged with each activity, instead of multi-tasking, releasing any thoughts that may distract you, and not rushing through them. Allow each of these activities to become sacred rituals where you feel in tune with the moment, with yourself and your surroundings.
Be mindful when listening or speaking with someone else, not judging or thinking about what either of you will say next. Fully listen to what they are saying, choose your words in a loving and non-judgmental way, for once released, they cannot be unspoken.
There is a growing body of evidence that bringing mindfulness into our lives has many positive effects on our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. Using these mindfulness practices every day has transformed my life in so many positive ways and allows me to experience a state of balance and harmony.