Using Mindfulness

How did I get here? Mindfulness and Staying in the Present

The lyrics sung by David Burne in the 1980’s have always stuck with me. Mostly because as a teenager I felt like he was complaining about realizing he had a great house, wife, and car. These were things I could only hope for in my future. As an adult who just purchased her first home, I can see the song in a new light. Looking back, I can see that during sections of my life I was not paying attention and had not idea about what mindfulness could do to help take steps towards my goals.

It happens to everyone. We set our minds to autopilot and miss out on the present. The art of being mindful goes against our usual routine. We think about what we have to do today, this weekend, next month but forget where our feet are while we allow these thoughts to take over.

Over the past year, I have been working on being more mindful. I learned about meditation as a way to slow down my thoughts and focus. I attended a meditation class. During my first attempt at meditation, I did not know what to think. I am from New York City, the origin of the New York minute. Why does anyone want to slow down? How was I going to do this? I was so busy being lost in my thoughts about meditating I had no idea how far I had gone from the room I was in until the instructor asked the class to follow our breath and come back from wherever our thoughts had taken us. She encouraged us to go back to our breath again and again throughout our course. Feeling the air go in and out of our lungs. I tried to stop thinking- in the movies people just sit happily in silence while meditating. This is a common mistake and common misunderstanding. You cannot stop your mind from thinking, that is what a mind does.The idea is to create space between your thoughts.Feeling your feet on the floor, hearing the sounds of the room, outside your home, the endless ticking clock in your office. Knowing that you are in the moment, in the present and noticing that your mind do its thing. You bring yourself back to the breath. In and out.

Applying my eight-minute meditation to my life (and your life too) is easier said than done. It takes patience and practice. It also takes a ton of compassion. Instead of being mean to yourself or being critical that you can’t do this or stop your mind from wondering. Choose compassion, note that you drifted off and come right back to whereever your feet are. You don’t want to miss the experiences along the way that go you to where you. Don’t wake up and have to ask yourself How did I get here? What are the things I have surrounded myself with. What…day…is it?

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