Lately, I’ve been feeling like life is moving faster by the year. I know many would agree with this statement, but the reasoning behind this thought is different for each person. For me, I feel like it isn’t the time that is necessarily moving faster, but rather my failure to be present in each moment. With technology booming, we often find ourselves lost in cyber-land, and forget to really sit with our experiences. But technology cannot be the scapegoat for detachment from the present moment. In fact, our cognition significantly contributes to our withdrawal from the present moment. Not sure about you, but I sometimes tend to get lost in my thoughts and worries, letting them consume my ability to be fully present.
Instead of avoiding negative experiences, or interpreting them as toxic… what would it be like for us to welcome them? As we continue to ignore negative experiences we draw ourselves further away from learning how to manage our reactions, and cope with those experiences. Alternatively, we can teach ourselves to sit with the unwanted thoughts and feelings, and accept them for what they are– a life experience. By learning how to be present in each moment, we allow for the acceptance of ALL feelings, not only the positive ones.
By learning to be aware and accepting of our surroundings, we move to a state of mindfulness. This means we are able to recognize our environment, what it means to us, how it makes us feel, and how we can learn to react to it appropriately. Appropriate reactions allow us to accept all emotions, and process them as normal. It would be helpful to practice this awareness by starting small. Try focusing on one simple task at a time, like eating. The next time you have dinner, have dinner with no interruptions. This means no side distractions, nothing but you, and your food. Try clearing your mind, and although it is only natural for our mind to drift away to other thoughts, make note of them drifting. This is okay, and you must realize that it is. Just notice the drift, and pull your mind back, and clear it once again. This small task, is just one example of how you can practice mindfulness so that it can eventually expand into all arenas of your everyday life.
Through the use of mindfulness we slowly teach ourselves how to manage difficult situations by becoming more accustomed to experiencing them, rather than shying away. We reach self-awareness by learning how we react and feel in different circumstances, and how we apply what we learn the next time we encounter a similar situation. This way, we learn to not only accept our feelings for what they are, but also begin our transition to reacting to them in a healthy and positive manner. What better way of reaching self awareness, but through the practice of mindfulness. <3
Quick Visualizing Activity:
Envision a beautiful green forest. Notice the scents as you enter the forest, notice the sounds around you, and observe each inch of what is around. In the far distance of the forest you hear a river, and decide to walk towards it. As you approach closer, you begin to see the rushing water down a river bed, surrounded by a lush habitat. It moves so quickly, passing by its surrounding, and never slowing down. You notice a huge boulder that sits in the middle of the river bed, strong, grounded, and still. Yet, the water does not seize its movement, and continues to push through, past the boulder. You envision the river as your thoughts; rapid, constant, and fluid. The boulder, is you; strong, grounded, present, and still. Notice your thoughts, notice their movement through your brain, and now tell yourself that this is okay. Thoughts will continue to flow, but learning to accept them and the feeling that they bring, is the crucial piece for self-awareness. As we stay grounded like the boulder, we realize what is around us, the river passing us by, the trees, the breeze, and yet we remain present. Although our thoughts are in constant movement, they do not control our actions. Remember, thoughts are just thoughts, they do not define us. Only actions may define us.