mindfulness, not magic

I’ve recreated the look and feel of this website. Not only do I enjoy changes in my surroundings now and again, but it also allows me to better represent what this site is about.

When asked what I do for work, my response is that I am a writer and a teacher, facilitating retreats and groups that inspire mindfulness and self-care.

Given the way mindfulness is commonly represented, to some people this sounds flaky and New-Agey. I can’t say I blame them for assuming that my work is way out in woo-woo-land, all mystical and magical-like.

Mindfulness is not mystical nor magical.

Mindfulness is not meditation. It does not require one to be guru-like. It is not always peaceful and Zen-like.

Mindfulness is simply moving through life consciously and with awareness. It is a practical state of being present and aware in the moment, no matter what is happening. It is being where your feet are. Paying attention to whatever is showing up, without judgement.

Mindfulness is a practical tool to approach life as it is, without the often incorrect filter of the stories we tell ourselves. It is simply seeing things the way they are, not the way we assume them to be. It’s all about the facts, not our assumptions. In this respect, mindfulness is a skill which paves a pathway within toward greater peace.

Having said that, mindfulness may include meditation, quietness, retreat and repose as environments in which to foster being fully present. However, they are not exclusive of one another.

So if mindfulness isn’t all about woo-woo stuff, and it isn’t just about meditation, what is it? What do I mean when I say it is a practical approach to life?

I mean that anyone in any walk of life in any situation could benefit from increased awareness of themselves and their surroundings.

I recently spoke with a man in corporate sales who practices mindfulness by closely and quietly observing his customers’ body language, reactions, and tone of voice upon arrival to guage the direction of his sales pitch. He goes in prepared; his mind is not on what the customer ordered last nor on how breakfast was a little burnt this morning. He is not thinking about what heap of product information he’s going to pile on the customer. In fact, in these moments he’s not thinking about the products at all.

He simply watches his customer. Observes. Is open to whatever is happening in the moment.

As a result, he is able to make a more personal connection with his customer, and tailors the sale to their more precise needs. I’m told that he has won awards from his company for best customer service, better productivity, and highest sales – all benefits of being mindful.

This man didn’t meditate, but he was practicing mindfulness. Nothing woo-woo here.

I have practiced mindfulness when in a disagreement with someone. I’ve practiced it while walking down the street. (So many times I’ve noticed things I’ve never seen before on the same route I’ve taken for years.) I practice mindfulness while eating, while walking, while listening to a piece of music.

Mindfulness has allowed me to move through grief, depression, and disability with grace. I am able to be present with those I love, and I am able to love more deeply.

No matter how mindfulness is practiced, it creates a greater sense of ease and calm within so that we can move forward in every moment of our lives in a more sustainable, healthy way – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

 

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