Last weekend I had the honor of leading a meditation seminar at Trebel Wellness. I’ll be totally honest with you, this was my first group meditation class and I was a little anxious about it. I always include meditation during the final moments of yoga class and offer guided meditation to my massage clients, whenever needed. After all, “mindful” is literally the name of my studio, I should just know what it means and how to share it with others. But, this was the first time I had to really talk about the what and why of mindfulness meditation.
I took to Google, like we all do these days. And, in true Google fashion, I was overwhelmed with the countless sites that mention mindfulness. So, I went old school and pulled some books off the shelf. Flipping through the yellowed and tattered pages, I was reminded of why I first fell in love with the idea of mindful living. On the very first page of one book written over 25 years ago, I was struck with a phrase that applies more so today than it even did back then.
“We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living” -Thich Nhat Hanh
So true, right? We spend hours, weeks, even years of work, worry and planning for the future. We can sacrifice time for earning degrees, training, working toward goals. We work hard so that we can have a nice home, cars and vacations. But, do we ever sit in thankfulness once we have those things?
Of course, we all must take time to prepare and plan. However, it is not necessary to wait until those things come to pass to be happy. If you are always “waiting until” or “I’ll be happy when”, happiness will pass you by. Our days sometimes seem filled with menial task after task that we just want to get through to move on to the next thing. What if we found joy in the current thing? What if when washing the dishes or vacuuming the floors or mowing the lawn we did so with mindfulness?
Joy can be found in every moment. There is no need to wait until the task is done to be happy. By being conscious of your breath and giving thanks for running water, electricity, the green grass, we can find peace.
If this all seems silly or “hippy dippy”, I get that and you are definitely not alone! It’s very different way of thinking. Different can feel weird at first. Start small. The next time you find yourself wishing the minutes away so that you can move on to the next thing, pause and breathe. Simply by breathing and being thankful for that very moment can change your perspective.
As for the seminar, I think it went very well. Truthfully, I feel I got just as much, if not more, from it than the participates. It made me want to dive back into those books. Mindful living, much like yoga, is a practice. And, like anything else in life, practice is needed to get better.
My wish for anyone reading this is that you find moments of joy and peace everyday. Practice being grateful for those moments. Notice how that small change can have big impacts.
I would love to know what you think; are you interested in learning more? Have you practiced mindful living? What questions do you have? How can I help?