It’s hard. I know.
Among a variety of books, on a grand bookcase in our living room, I have two that are entitled, “A Year of Living Mindfully” (Week by week mindfulness meditations for a more contented and fulfilled life) and “Mindful Journaling” (Rewrite the script of your life).
I have not placed these two books on the shelf in a way that they’re squeezed in and unnoticeable. No, I have placed them front facing causing us to have a staring contest each time I walk through the room. They totally win, every time, as I bow my head and keep walking.
Somedays I pretend not to notice them, but I get this very odd feeling that they are noticing me. What do I do? I take zero action to pick them up and flip through their pages. I BOUGHT these books! Why in the world do I continue to avoid them?
My unhappy guessing is that they will require too much work for me in a time when I need every bit of emotional bandwidth that I can possibly squander. I desperately need to maintain some normalcy during this time of quarantine and isolation.
In case you are wondering, the definition of mindfulness is, “The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” I admit, I totally just Googled that. To my surprise, this doesn’t sound as hard to accomplish as I thought it would.
The next definition is as follows: “A mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.” Okay, THAT RIGHT THERE folks. The second definition of this word “Mindfulness” is WHY I just have a difficult time picking up those books on my bookshelf.
Did it say, “calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations”? That sounds so humorous to me right now. Like humorous in an outlandish, wild, ridiculously nutty kind of way. I am chuckling as I envision myself sitting on a yoga mat on a warm sandy beach, eyes closed, legs crisscrossed, hands on my knees, the whole thing. Can’t you just see that image? Who has time for that? We have to stay home anyway! Nice excuse, Christie! Ha Ha!
But wait! I think there is a deeper opportunity here for me to explore. Let’s look at some old passages for some further guidance. Matthew 6:34 - “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself...” Now, that is not very encouraging is it? What I can take away from this scripture, however, is that we do not need to be anxious about TOMORROW. Be mindful. Be here. Be mentally-focused on today.
Hebrews 13:5 – “… be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Philippians 4:11 – “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content…” These scriptures are saying, just Be. Stop being so needy. Be content. That sounds unkind and I’m sorry. I’m also probably telling you something that I wish I could tell my children on those tougher days. Just be. (Christie bursts into song: “I just want to be okay, be okay, be okay, I just want to be okay, today… la la la la la) (song credit to Ingrid Michaelson)
You guys, I totally just told my kids, this past Saturday, that “I want you to stop throwing negativity darts at my positive balloons!” Isn’t that so funny? I said, “I have the biggest most positive happy balloon that I have blown up this morning and you guys, through your ungratefulness and moodiness are trying to shoot negativity darts at me to pop my positive balloon. No more!” Come to think of it, that may even be a form of mindfulness and I didn't even realize it until I sat down to type this evening. I was aware of what was trying to take place. I was empowered to make a choice, like setting an important boundary where I can maintain a healthy mental balance on a bright sunshine-filled Saturday that started of oh so on the right foot. I joined a virtual Mom’s coffee date with a few other Seven Homes Mama’s. They take place every Saturday from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM online. Connect with Seven Homes to learn more. I thoroughly enjoyed the chat and I felt so happy afterwards.
Okay, so back to this article…after reading these scriptures, I am challenged to go beyond the physical actions that I have concocted in my mind about what mindfulness looks like for me and I am now moving toward my thought processes.
Now, while that is still quite challenging and takes a lot of effort, at least it’s not so physical. Do you know what I mean? It’s a thought. It’s not a fifty-pound weight I am being asked to lift. It’s a thought.
When tomorrow’s worries or to-do’s start creeping in to your today, stop. Breathe. Smile. Get a note pad if you need to (for all you doers out there!), write down what’s on your mind and file it in a drawer that says, “TOMORROW”.
Seriously, I have SO MANY things to worry about right now. I will not go into all of them, because this is not a pity party, and I really want you to be encouraged. I have been making it a goal to compartmentalize my thoughts. The really heavy ones that I know will leave me in a heap on the floor soaked in my tears (that’s so dramatic and completely unlike me!) I just say no to somedays. Not today. Put it in a file. Put it on a shelf. (Like these two books that I have refused to read. Ha Ha!)
Truly the only things we can control are our thoughts, and our actions. That’s it. This mindfulness stuff just got a little easier because I am believing that I am capable of being present and allowing things to just be. That’s peace you guys! That’s taking away the inner conflict that we hold so tightly some days. Just let it be. We can’t change everything, but we can change our thoughts.
Please feel huge amounts of support as you endeavor to protect your life choices, your daily choices, and those really priceless moments in between. If you’ll excuse me, I think I am going to go open up one of those books now.