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 benefits of mindful living are a deeper mind, body and spirit connection, as well as learning to see yourself and the world around you without harsh judgment.
The previous article discussed how to take small mindful moments throughout the day. This began weaving a practice of mindfulness into your life. No matter where you are in your practice, I want you to take three slow deep breathes and give yourself a moment of gratitude for being open to mindful living and making mindfulness a part of your life or for continuing to make mindfulness a part of your life.
Part of our mindfulness practice is to observe without immediate reaction or action. This moment allows space for us to align our mind, body and spirit connection to the moment at hand. When we grant time and space for this alignment to happen, it opens us to the ability to act in partnership with the Universe in accordance with our true self.
Having the opportunity to act or react in a situation that has us aligned with our true self and the Universe opens us to immense possibilities for our life and the dreams we have for our life. To be open to this opportunity we must take our mindfulness practice of being in the present moment and incorporate mindful observation without being negatively or harshly judgmental about ourselves or others. In my decades of both practicing, teaching and coaching on mindful living, breaking from the cycle of being negatively or harshly judgmental can be one of the trickiest parts to learn, practice and implement.
As always, when we encounter something tricky, we do not give up. We take a moment to breathe, center and reflect on why we find this tricky. Inner reflection is key to personal growth, honesty and self-awareness. However, if we are not honest with ourselves during this inner reflection then we will not be able to make the progress we want to in our personal journey.
I want to pause here and talk about the word’s judgment and judgmental versus the perception. According to the American heritage dictionary, Judgment means the act or process of judging, the formation of an opinion after consideration or deliberation. The American Heritage dictionary also defines Judgmental as Of, relating to, or dependent on judgment. On the flip side, being referred to as being judgmental is often said with negative meanings that imply the individual is shallow, does not think things through or are considered unaccepting of others as they are.
As you can see the words and actions themselves are a healthy part of our thinking and evaluation process. Applying fact with knowledge and the wisdom of experience is an important part of utilizing our human experiences to grow and learn as a person. Allowing us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be in that moment.
When we begin to jump to conclusions without gathering all the facts of this situation to see this moment as it is, rather than defining it based on a prior experience, a word-of-mouth situational story (you know the ones: a friends sister’s cousins brother told them this thing happened to them), or something we saw on social media, then we are entering into a negative cycle of judgment.
A healthy cycle of judgment is the one that the practice of mindfulness can assist us in. Mindfulness allows us to observe the situation at hand and allows space for us to process facts, knowledge and experience. This then gives us the opportunity to act or react in the best possible way for the moment we are currently in with the facts available to us.
One of the best tools to use in our mindfulness practice, aside from deep breathing, is the setting of intentions. Intentions help us stay focused on what we wish to achieve personally and, in our mind, body, spirit connection. These intentions can be repeated in the morning, at mealtimes, when you drink your water. You will need to practice on when you want to set your attentions and if you wish to reaffirm those intentions as you go about your day.
Examples of mindfulness intentions:
Today, I will focus on the present moment.
Today, I will witness my emotions in my daily life.
Today, I will think before speaking.
Today, I will be mindful to have all the facts before reacting.
When my thoughts drift to unknown future incomes, I will take three breathes and focus on this moment.
When I begin to think of my response while the other person is still speaking, I will take a deep breath and truly listen to what they are saying.
When I begin to form an opinion before I hear everything being said, I will take a breathe and simply listen
When I am on social media, I will be aware of my body tension and emotional responses to decide if this is what I need to be watching or reading.
Today, when parenting becomes hard. I will deep breathe until I feel calmer and better able to be present in the moment.
As you can see, intentions can be set for a variety of situations. There is no pass/fail, win/lose, success or failure with intentions. They simply are guideposts to help you along your journey of mindfulness. If you set a goal to say intentions every morning for 30 days and find you have forgotten. That is alright. Breathe, be gentle and start where you are. Mindful living is about being in the present moment. What happened in the past happened. What is to be, will make itself known in due course. Be right here now.
Through the month continue with this practice and be gentle with yourself. Simply begin where you are.
Mindfully yours, Irisa
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.