To celebrate turning 40, I’ve challenged myself to blog for each of the 40 days leading into my birthday. This is post number 25. You can read all the posts here.
I was a little late to mindfulness.
Actually, I’m a little late to most things. Mainly because I have a massive aversion to anything ‘everyone’ is doing.
- Is ‘everyone’ going left? Ok, I’m going right.
- Is ‘everyone’ reading a particular book? Well then, I won’t. (Until I do.)
- Is ‘everyone’ drinking green smoothies. Not me. (Until I did, of course.)
Perhaps it’s just that I’m leery of jumping on board with a trend until I’d sure it’s a stayer.
Mindfulness (and its close cousin, meditation) is a stayer.
I used to think mindfulness equalled ‘living in the moment’. This is something I’ve only ever been able to do for, literally, five seconds. After this, my mind immediately races forward into the future.
“All you people who truly live in the moment? You only get do that because of those of us who are living in the future; planning ahead to ensure everything doesn’t go to shit thanks to a lack of foresight. You need us!”
That’s what I used to think.
Then, in 2016, my Let It Be podcast co-host Brooke introduced to me ‘moments of mindfulness’.
All mindfulness is, she said, is ‘noticing’.
- Noticing the big blue-ness of the sky as you walk up the hill to your house.
- Noticing the crunch of the apple as you bite into it.
- Noticing the flickering of your child’s eyelashes as they sleep.
When you notice, you can’t help but be pulled back into the present moment.
And, when you do so, it has both an anchoring and calming effect.
I can safely say that learning to pepper ‘moments of mindfulness’ throughout my day, every day, has been one of the single most impactful changes I’ve made to my life in recent years.
Jon Kabat-Zinn once said:
‘Compassion and kindness towards oneself are intrinsically woven into mindfulness.’
I can confirm he’s right about that.
I can also confirm that compassion and kindness lay firm foundations for something else crucial to being able to live a less frantic life – the ability to be intentional.