What does mindfulness and mindful living mean to me?…We all know about the daily gratitude practice and really noticing the trees and the plants and the oceans and the clouds..However, today was the first time when I actually saw it for what it is – a breathing living being that dances in its own bliss and it fascinated me. We are brought up and taught to notice Nature mainly for its functionality. The plants and the trees are there to either feed us, produce oxygen, to create a shade or to be a pretty accessory in our surroundings. The ocean is there to provide home for sea life that also becomes a source of food or of materials, it is also used for transportation as well as a simple pleasure of swimming on a hot sunny day. I can continue to list all of the things that surround us and all of their functions that I know of and probably will miss a few due to a lack of knowledge, but I don’t want to divert from today’s experience.
I was walking along the canal in Cape Town listening to Yiruma’s track “Passing by”(pianist), when I suddenly saw a palm trees dancing along with a wind and I saw them as true living beings and it fascinated me…When I realised it, as if they noticed that I have noticed them for who they truly are, they started dancing even more and smile at me like we have become part of a secret circle in which we recognised each other’s existence yet wanted to keep quiet for others. I continued to walk and started paying extra attention to every little plant and flower, tree and bird…It was as if I had a new set of glasses that allowed me to see beyond of what I normally would and into a new dimension…It felt so beautiful and so inspiring. Those who knows me well enough, would happily confirm that I regularly spotted admiring beauty around and that I am a big fan of spending time in the nature. I also teach mindfulness for nearly a decade which means the whole idea is not a novelty to me yet it was like if I was propelled to a new level.
My mind made an instant connection with human nature and the importance of making an effort to notice people and things around us for who they truly are. I used word ‘effort’ because it takes consistent practice of our ability to see the World through this magical glasses of Love and feel deep connection with the consciousness around us, acknowledging that we are all part of one. Nothing can be taken for granted. If it is a person, no matter how long you have a connection with them, a few seconds or a few decades, looking them into their eyes and genuinely asking them ‘How they are’, waiting patiently for a response, or simply giving a genuine smile that says “I see you, you matter’. If it is a peace of furniture, take a moment once in a while and appreciate the whole process of its creation from the moment it was a piece of wood to the moment it was brought to your home or office. Notice the clothes you wear and think of a long process it had to go through before you got to wear it. Treating things with love allows us to be more mindful of their purpose in our life and helps us to create less clutter and unwanted piles of furniture, clothes, appliances, accessories…people. Yes, I have compared thing to people for a reason. Everyone and everything wants to be noticed, loved and treated with respect. How often do we hold on to friends, partners, acquaintances because we once had something that is no longer there? Have we stopped seeing them for who they truly are or have our paths become too different? Checking in with ourselves is important as it allows us to declutter our social circle as well as our love life. Letting go of someone is also a form of love. Giving things away so they can be loved by someone else is giving them a chance to be loved and appreciated once again.
In the autumn, a leaf doesn’t hold on to a tree hoping to stay there for another season. It lets go and find its peace accepting the cycle of life. We can learn so much from mother Nature…
Now lets talk about how often do you check with yourself if you are still on the right path with work, relationship, friendships, body? Do you simply follow a routine ‘day in day out’ being fearful of change or do you allow yourself to observe and become aware of the changes your body and mind goes through?
If I may suggest a little mindful practice, I would start by suggesting you to sit down in silence. Shut down all the noises of the outer world. Set an intention of letting go or ask yourself a question that you want to get an answer to. Allow the answer to arise within. Trust that your intuition, heart, souls, higher consciousness (your choice of words) will deliver the answer to you. Now the most important thing is to accept it by being honest with yourself. There is no one to judge or to tell you what is right and what is wrong…Well apart from the mind chatter but we can ask it politely to be quiet. Use the mantra “ I am ready to let go” or “I am ready to receive” depending what your intention is for that day. Give yourself as much time as you need and when you feel that the word have penetrated every cell of your existence, say “thank you and so be it”. Do it daily or a least a few times a week. In the park, by the ocean, or in your room.
This is my take on Mindfulness. I am looking forward to start a conversation about your experiences.