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The Power of Mindfulness



I often get asked about what mindfulness is. How does it feel like? How does one know when one is experiencing it?


One of my favorite analogies to describe the experience of mindfulness is through the example of a “holiday mind.”


My “holiday mind” is what I call my mindset of purposefully tuning into nature’s sensations and energy, fully opening my awareness to whatever is around me, with a mindset uncluttered from expectations or judgement.


It could be when I take a couple of moments relaxing on a tire-swing, savoring the warmth of the sun on my skin, listening to the chirping of birds, appreciating the pace of their songs, listening to the joy-filled sounds of children playing… In such moments I feel like I am entering into the wonder of another world, with another pace…


My holiday mind is a rest-filled experience during which my awareness connects with the sensations and pace of the present moment; without the emotional effort of resisting the present moment, worrying, planning ahead, or being somewhere else…


Most definitions of mindfulness include a concept of a present moment awareness of one’s inner experience; with curiosity, compassion, and a beginners mind (which refers to being open to noticing the present moment with fresh eyes, open to new possibilities, experiences, sensations...


Why Mindfulness?


The numerous health and well-being benefits of mindfulness are well documented. They range from enhanced immune function, increased cerebral blood flow, elevated levels of serotonin, weakened fight and flight response (reduced reactivity), reduced blood pressure and heart rate, to improvements in concentration and memory…



Mindfulness and Personal Power


Anecdotally, I continue to find (within my counseling work) that many women, caught up in their caring roles and in being attentive to others, get deterred from attending to and relating to their inner experience with deep awareness, as well as compassion and acceptance. On a social conditioning level, many women have been generally discouraged, or not actively encouraged, to pursue self-development outside of their caring roles for centuries!


Mindfulness is also a wonderful practice for any individuals who would like to work on giving away less of their personal power to inappropriate concerns about others’ reactions, or external validation…


On a more intra-personal level, mindfulness helps us to be aware of our various inner parts, emotional patterns, automatic thoughts, beliefs, and mindsets…


Developing the awareness part of our being, that observes our inner world with curiosity, compassion, without struggling against our experience, helps us to regulate the various components of our inner experience; through responding to them from a place of self-worth and wisdom.


Awareness is the first step on the road to transformation, as we continue to shape our responses and our inner and outer lives...



Get Mindful


My favorite express strategy for experiencing deep mindfulness is to spend a moment rocking on a tire-swing in a local park, as I described in the beginning of this post. But this is just a start. I can then take the mindfulness mindset with me wherever I go; whether playing with the kids (detached from what “should” be or the noise of unconstructive thoughts,) or being present within a counseling session. Yes, thoughts will interrupt my moments of bliss and my awareness will need to get my brain back on track. But, with conscious practice, this happens visibly less and less!


How about you? What mindfulness moments can you experience today? Perhaps while you’re eating, washing the dishes, putting up your washing, interacting with others, playing with your kids, observing nature, doing something creative, or even studying…

In any case, I hope you will tap into your compassionate, curious, wise, trusting awareness, and have a wonderfully mindful day filled with many moments of bliss, worth savoring...


Bozena


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