Welcome to Mindful Living: A Connection of Mind, Body, and Spirit. Here you are invited to explore, collect knowledge and learn how to implement mindfulness in your life. The side affects of mindful living are a deeper mind, body and spirit connection, as well as learning to see yourself without judgment.
One of the most important skill sets to mindful living is observation without judgment. Learning to simply see the situation that you are in without pulling in past experiences, expectations, other individuals thoughts or opinions or coloring the situation in any way takes practice.
The next step to observation is to not judge the situation or yourself. We are all familiar with the “I wish I had done/said/reacted” syndrome. You literally want to just learn to see the situation as factually as possible.
This skill set allows you space before acting or reacting to the situation. When we do not feel pressured to act or react quickly or in a certain way, there is a new clarity that comes to us. This clarity allows space for the situation to happen and our mind, body and spirit to tell us how we feel about the situation.
The more we can align these events, the more we align our thoughts, emotions and actions/reactions with our true self. Our true self is one that aligns our body, mind, spirit, thoughts and feelings with our actions and reactions to the situations we find ourselves in. Living in alignment is mindful living and this will allow us to make the choices that best assist us in living the life of our dreams.
Does this sound impossible or overwhelming? That’s okay if it does, because I promise you this is not as overwhelming and time consuming as it sounds. The first thing we are going to do is give ourselves a little bit of mental clarity. In this busy world with tons of information always coming to us, a breather at least twice a day will help you with mental clarity.
Literally, we are going to spend 5 minutes breathing. Once in the morning and once in the evening. Before you jump to the “how am I going to add in another thing” let me show you some ways that do allow you to accomplish this goal – even with kids, animals, partners, careers, parents, siblings, or the bizarre event blocking your path.
Ways to Get Your Five Minutes of Breathing In:
- If you are blessed with silence and space you can sit for five minutes comfortably in lotus position (or any comfortable position) and breathe.
- Not a morning person? you can stare at the coffee pot while it does its morning magic and simply focus on your breathing while you blink blearily and wait for the magic brown potion of life.
- Crunched for time? In the shower while you lather up, focus on breathing as the suds lather your skin.
- Morning Movement via chores or workout? Add focused breathing into your movements.
- About to get into a heated something with the kids? As all of you to take 3-5 deep breathes and then talk it out.
- At the end of the day we all have a routine. If its zoning out to electronics simply set a timer for 5 minutes and zone out to a picture, the window, your kids playing and simply breathe.
- Washing dishes? Flipping a load of laundry? Simple tasks like this can co-exist with your breathing exercises.
As you do your breathing you will find that space is a blessed bonus. Slow, deep breathing regulates your body and nervous system. As this happens we relax and gain mental and emotional clarity. Slow deep breaths are a useful tool when we begin to feel overwhelmed.
All you want to do is focus on breathing. If your mind wanders off to the to-do list for the day or life stressors, just bring your mind back to the act of breathing. Also remember that your minds job is to think, so when it wanders you are not failing in any way but training your mind to focus on the task of mindful attention on your breath.
As you go through your day practice the act of breathing before responding and acting. A simple three to five breaths to give you a moment of space and clarity to the situation. If you are with another person, just say you need a moment to collect your thoughts. This practice will begin to give you clarity to observe the situation before acting or reacting.
Through the month continue with this practice and be gentle with yourself. You will get busy with your day and forget you wanted to do this. That is perfectly okay. You are just beginning a new habit and that takes time to implement in your life. There is nothing wrong or bad if you forget to do it a bit and suddenly remember you wanted to try this new tool. Simply begin where you are. Each time you do this, you are building a new habit that will become a useful tool in your life. Next column we will discuss observation without judgment!
About the Author:
Irisa MacKenzie is a meditation and mindfulness guide, reiki master and teacher, rune valdr practitioner, Viking re-enactor, spiritual drummer and artist. Irisa discovered meditation and mindfulness in her late teens. The next several decades were spent exploring different methods, studying, practicing and leading workshops and seminars on meditation and mindfulness in Pennsylvania and Central Ohio. More on meditation and mindfulness can be found at Irisamackenzie.com. Irisa’s art can be found on instagram, Facebook and Etsy as Viking Woman Creations or vikingwomancreations.com. During September and October her work can be found at the Ohio Renaissance Festival at the Wyld Runes booth.