Mindfulness, anytime, anywhere...

 

To me, one of the most spectacular thing about mindfulness is that you can do it anytime! Anywhere! With anyone! Or anything! 

Mindfulness is simply the practice of being fully present in the moment. Sometimes I attend Agape, a spiritual center here in Los Angeles ~ and one morning one of the pastors talked to us about mindfulness. He had been worrying about an anticipated problem for weeks ~ one that didn't ever come to fruition. After it was certain the problem was only imagined, he reflected upon his worry. He had been living in the past ~ assuming the problem would arise because it had done so before. And he was trying to live in the future ~ always a futile effort ~ trying to predict what would happen. We all do it, but of course in reality we also all know that it is impossible to predict.

So at that moment he poured himself a bowl of his favorite granola with almond milk, filled a mug of hot tea, and sat down alone at the table to eat. He decided to intentionally make it a thoroughly mindful meal, an exercise in relaxation after his weeks of feeling tension. All he focused on was each bite in his mouth; savoring the almonds, enjoying each crunch, inhaling the sweet smell of cinnamon and the cold vanilla almond milk. He took long sips of the  hot tea, relishing the sensation of it sliding down his throat and the spices making his tongue prickle a bit. He heard the LA birds chirping outside his window and felt just the slightest breeze on the back of his neck. He looked around his kitchen, keenly observing the little details his wife had added, things previously unnoticed. He thought of how many times he had sat at that table and noted how many things he felt as though he had literally never seen before. 

So there he sat.  Mindfully immersed in eating his cereal and drinking his tea and appreciating his surroundings. Not thinking of the past, not thinking of the future, just being fully present and mindful in the moment.

I invite you to try this. Choose a time and activity ~ it could be stretching, lying in a hammock, humming, eating, weeding a garden, jumping on a trampoline, literally anything! For just a few moments ~ even one if that is all you have ~and commit to being fully present in that experience. We tell the kids to use their “Spidey senses.” How does it feel? What do you see? What can you hear? Does it evoke any scent memories? Can you taste something within the experience, perhaps even a lingering piquancy in your mouth?  Throughout the experience do not think of the past. Just be. Do not think of the future. Just be. Let all worry go. Just be. Don’t plan anything. Just be.  Mindful living. It’s the simplest concept. Yet in our modern lives, where most of us are hurtling through every day trying to get so many things done, we honestly miss a good portion of it! Slow down, use all five of your senses ~ add in your heart and soul ~ and develop the practice of bringing this mindfulness, this heightened awareness into as many areas of your life as possible.  When it comes to young people and mindfulness… they are naturally more in the moment than we are as adults with all of our patterns and baggage and memories. And generally, the younger, the more in the moment. To a two year old, the present moment is Everything, as they lack the perspective to experience anything else. But they are growing out of it earlier and earlier, as they plug in to pads, smartphones, and computers. I'm sure that many of you can imagine the sad but realistic image of creative awesome young people, with other creative awesome young people, and what are they doing?

I invite you to try this. Choose a time and activity ~ it could be stretching, lying in a hammock, humming, eating, weeding a garden, jumping on a trampoline, literally anything! For just a few moments ~ even one if that is all you have ~and commit to being fully present in that experience. We tell the kids to use their “Spidey senses.” How does it feel? What do you see? What can you hear? Does it evoke any scent memories? Can you taste something within the experience, perhaps even a lingering piquancy in your mouth?

Throughout the experience do not think of the past. Just be. Do not think of the future. Just be. Let all worry go. Just be. Don’t plan anything. Just be.

Mindful living. It’s the simplest concept. Yet in our modern lives, where most of us are hurtling through every day trying to get so many things done, we honestly miss a good portion of it! Slow down, use all five of your senses ~ add in your heart and soul ~ and develop the practice of bringing this mindfulness, this heightened awareness into as many areas of your life as possible.

When it comes to young people and mindfulness… they are naturally more in the moment than we are as adults with all of our patterns and baggage and memories. And generally, the younger, the more in the moment. To a two year old, the present moment is Everything, as they lack the perspective to experience anything else. But they are growing out of it earlier and earlier, as they plug in to pads, smartphones, and computers. I'm sure that many of you can imagine the sad but realistic image of creative awesome young people, with other creative awesome young people, and what are they doing?

Almost all research agrees these days that children as young as 8 years old are spending upwards of 5 hours daily using some form of media or technology.  And I'm sure that most of us, without doing any research at all, can agree that being plugged into a device and therefore not experiencing the world and people around you fully, may well be in direct opposition to mindfulness.  Wouldn’t it be amazing to see the young people in your life looking like this?

Almost all research agrees these days that children as young as 8 years old are spending upwards of 5 hours daily using some form of media or technology.

And I'm sure that most of us, without doing any research at all, can agree that being plugged into a device and therefore not experiencing the world and people around you fully, may well be in direct opposition to mindfulness.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to see the young people in your life looking like this?

Or this?

Or this?

So start today. Try out some mindfulness practices of your own, no matter how small. Then try to add some in to the lives of the young people around you. We'll be giving you lots of ideas to check out, for yourself and for our growing generations. You may well be amazed by how much your life can shift from this seemingly small simple free Do Anytime Anywhere with Anyone and Anything practice.  And as they say, monkey see, monkey do. The more children and young people who see you putting down your phone, really listening to them, taking off your shoes to feel the grass between your toes, all of it ~ they will follow your lead.  Mindfulness. Anytime, everywhere...

So start today. Try out some mindfulness practices of your own, no matter how small. Then try to add some in to the lives of the young people around you. We'll be giving you lots of ideas to check out, for yourself and for our growing generations. You may well be amazed by how much your life can shift from this seemingly small simple free Do Anytime Anywhere with Anyone and Anything practice.

And as they say, monkey see, monkey do. The more children and young people who see you putting down your phone, really listening to them, taking off your shoes to feel the grass between your toes, all of it ~ they will follow your lead.

Mindfulness. Anytime, everywhere...