Another unexpected benefit of personal mindfulness practice that I am experiencing is how I relate. To others, to the world — and even to myself.
I am finding that I react less, and respond more.
And I thought I was pretty good at not reacting in the first place — but holy wow for awareness, humility, and leveling up.
When someone throws a snarky comment my way, I more often see it for what it is — an expression of their immediate process in this moment. Which includes their tiredness, their feeling out of control, their grasping for mental footing. None of which, actually, has anything at all to do with me. I just happen to be within range.
I’m finding that when I pause, and choose how to respond — rather than react — all of it dissipates. All of it. Regardless of if I have quietly held a space of breathing room for the person, or if I have spoken a response that gently but firmly reminds “enough.”
The secret isn’t the pausing. It’s choosing a response instead of a reaction. The pause just helps me get aligned with my heart-space, first.
Besides interacting with people, I notice that responding rather than reacting improves my situations, too. The hot water heater unexpectedly craps out? I can rail at the poor timing, the unexpected expense, and the headache of it all, — or I can embrace it as Life getting Lifey and turn toward a solution. Either way, I’m in the situation. I just get to choose how I feel about it along the way.
I also am discovering that choosing to respond rather than react improves my relationship with myself. All my creative energy today was used up for my work project, and now I’m clueless as to what to make for supper — again?!? This doesn’t mean I am failing; it’s just the way things are going right now.
When I fall short or inevitably make mistakes, I have greater self-compassion. And I more often than not lead from that space instead of work my way there. Which for me, is life-changing.
SO — something triggers you, and you are flooded with emotion? Notice it. Name it. Choose how you want to respond. And watch it dissipate. All of it.
Things don’t disappear; they dissolve. Like stirring sugar into water, both are still present.
They are not gone; they are changed. You are navigating differently.
In cooperation. In awareness. In response.
And that makes all the difference.
I have always been responsible and purposeful: now I am becoming response-able and on purpose.
How about you? Where do you react and where do you respond? Start with looking at your triggers, and pick one that you wish to change a reaction into a response. Recognize where you pause, and choose one where you already respond and wish to deepen your connection to that.
There are a variety of personal meditative practices. Perhaps you use Reiki, shamanic journeying, breathwork, Tarot or oracle cards. Maybe you use daily devotionals, pray, walk in nature, practice gratitude, save a chair for your Guardian Angel.
Although I have had some sort of connecting practice for as long as I can remember, I recently am also exploring Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
(I had gotten rather sloppy in my attentiveness, and this organized option is well-timed for me.)
Watch the above video till the end. All the way through. Even if you think you know what is coming. Even if you’ve already seen it.
(Oh, for crying out loud, it’s only four minutes and ten seconds to the end credits. Consider it easy meditation time, and just enjoy.)
QUESTIONS TO PONDER, NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE:
You’ve heard before that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. “I think/reflect, therefore I am.” Within this Cartesian split, I reflect that I am turned more toward what I think of as the higher, spiritual realms than what I have thought of as the denser, physical body.
As if the whole purpose of (hopefully a very long) Life is to overcome this temporary body stint and discover the way back to the Spirit, the Soul, that we Are. As if physical Life is a Divine puzzle to solve that we get to fully experience in order to find our way back to understanding our spiritual natures, leveled up.
I tend to consider my body as a condensed container-vehicle for my vast spirit, and I am aware that although immensely appreciative of the body I do place much more value on my spirit.
But what if I am missing the point? What if the physical self is not actually a distraction from my spiritual Self? What if fully immersing in the body, rather than overcoming it, is actually the path to becoming? The point, actually the way of spiritual leveling-up? Read More
Mindfulness is about being fully aware in the present moment. Sometimes we set aside time for this — attend a session, create quiet time, go for a walk.
Other times it happens regardless of our lives happening around us — noticing our breathing while loading the clothes washer, looking into our dog’s eyes as we rub under her ears, stopping in our tracks to witness an especially spectacular sunrise.
The more aware of becoming aware, we begin to react less and respond more.
Simply noticing our thoughts and allowing them just as they are, with no attachment to them and nothing to fix.
Being a peaceful observer. Of our own minds.
And oh, do we get plenty of chances to practice. Whether we set aside time for them or not.
The other day I was reading while waiting for my car’s oil change. A very lovely woman of my same generation was also in the waiting area, catching up on her extensive video social media. At. Full. Volume.
The book I was reading? It was about mindfulness. Oh, the irony. Read More