Monthly Columns

Mindful Living: A Connection of Mind, Body and Spirit


As I sit down to write this article for Midsummer, we are blessed with a beautiful warm sunny day in central Ohio. Birds are singing, crab apple blossoms are on the tree and there is about 30 seconds of ideal blissful mindfulness. Then the children screech as they realize the creek water is still icy cold and the dogs begin to bark when they realize the electric company has workers across the backyard.

This scenario is typical to anyone not living alone who wishes to practice mindfulness and meditation. Photography, social media, YouTube all show these ideal studios with perfect surroundings to perfect our practice. Most of us cannot duplicate all the serene components depicted in those settings, we have the small moments of idyllic serenity. This is where reframing, appreciation and gratitude come into our mindfulness practice.

What is reframing? It is taking the moment and seeing it in a different light. For example: I could be frustrated at the screeching children breaking the silence. Instead, I take a breath and remind myself they are having fun. Their sounds let me know they are alive and well as they explore the outdoors. As for the dogs, I am grateful they are aware of strangers in the neighborhood, and they alert our family. The whining sounds of the electric truck may not be a pleasant pitch to my ears, but I am grateful for the convenience of electricity.

Now that I have become hyper aware of all the noises around me, it is a good time to practice the five senses awareness. This is a great mindfulness practice in many situations. When used with small children, you can teach them to know what their senses are and be aware of their surroundings. If someone is having anxiety, this can help them focus on other sensations to alleviate an anxiety or panic attack. Feeling overwhelmed? Also it is a nice grounding exercise. Speaking of grounding, it is great to add to the end of spiritual practices or rituals to bring your group back to the present moment.


Five Senses Mindful Awareness (aka 5-4-3-2-1-1)

What are five things that you see around you?

What are four things you can feel?

What are three things you can hear?

What are two things you can see?

What is one thing you taste or like the taste of?

What is one thing you like about yourself?

This can be a very insightful sensory exercise. Doing this with children can provide a lot of laughter! Laughter is always good for the soul. Summer provides many opportunities for laughter. The sunshine and fresh air lend a feeling of happiness and optimism to our life.

The long days bring a sense that anything is possible. Now at this point the folks reading this will be divided into “I love the hot weather and outdoor activities” and the “Help me, I’m melting” group. I happen to fall into the melting camp, while having a child who comes to life in the middle of the hottest days. As such, I plan most of our outdoor stuff for the mornings and late afternoon/evenings. This is the time of year I see a lot of sunrise and sunsets. While is seems a practical matter, it is also a mindfulness practice. Being aware of social expectations, weather and what you want to give yourself during this time of the year is important.

Another factor is the extreme weather and what you really want to do outdoors. Remember to set boundaries for yourself. Practice being honest about the commitments that you want to have, as well as the times of day that you wish to have them. Summer is a busy time of year with consistent opportunities to visit people, festivals, fairs, conventions and so forth. Practicing mindfulness, listening to your body is so important so you do not overextend yourself and your overall well-being.

Practice self-honesty. Make a list of activities that are important for you to do this summer. For yourself and for your family. Then after you schedule those activities, schedule down time. Make this a non-negotiable for you. Create space in your life to just be. This is a huge part of self-care, which is what mindfulness is about.

I know it sounds like we have gotten into practical life. However, my goal is to show you how mindfulness and meditation are tools for radical self-awareness and self-honesty, that aides you in creating a healthy body, mind, spirit connection leading to an authentic life that you are passionate about.

So the goal this turn of the wheel is mindful check ins on scheduling, plus activities during the day and how you react to the heat of the summer. Then in the downtime we are going to work on our meditation practice.

Since Summer tends to be a busy time, working on our circular breathing meditation is a good restorative exercise to ground us. Circular breathing is long slow steady breaths with no pause between the inhale and the exhale. Inhale, count 1, 2, 3, 4 Exhale, Count, 1, 2, 3, 4, repeat.

Another great breath meditation is the alternate nostril breathing. This helps balance the left and right sides of the brain, calm the nervous system and align the chakras.

    • Bring your hand to your nose, with your index finger hovering over the left nostril and the thumb hovering over the right nostril.
    • Press the thumb against the right nostril to block it and inhale through the left nostril
    • Use the index finger to block the left nostril, this will mean both nostrils are blocked. Hold for two seconds.
    • Release your thumb on the right nostril and exhale, pause for two seconds after the exhale
    • Keep the left nostril closed, inhale through the right nostril. Pause for two seconds
    • Open the left nostril, close the right and exhale, hold for two seconds.
    • Repeat

This time of year, is filled with bright colors. Choose your favorite colors to incorporate into the home as reminders to take mindful moments. Filling your shopping cart with a colorful array of fresh fruit and vegetables can bring mindful awareness to your diet. A simple, non-stressful way to do so is to see how colorful you can make your plates of food.

Mindful living doesn’t have to be complicated. It is about being aware of the moments you are in and connecting to your authentic self. When you are connected to yourself then you can create a life that you truly enjoy living.



About the Author:

Irisa MacKenzie joined in 2022 writing the Mindful Living: A Connection of Body, Mind and Spirit column and book reviews. Irisa has taught meditation and mindfulness for 25 years. Her blog continues her discussions on mindfulness, meditation and living a purpose driven life.

Viking Woman Creations has eclectic creations for authentic self-expression. Our holistic services support meditation and mindfulness practices plus the magic that support our body, mind and spirit connection to the Universe. Viking Woman Creations is a small woman owned new business that will be growing over the coming years. Please look for us on Instagram and Facebook.