Just because something is “real,” I don’t have to like it, approve it, or leave it as it is. Acceptance is a valuable experience. It allows me to understand what is true right now. With this, I can then formulate a course of action if necessary.
The opposite of denial.
Not actively fighting reality.
Validating the way I feel.
Recognizing the way I feel as a passing experience.
Being aware of what is real and factual. (And separating this from thoughts and feelings about it.)
Knowing whatever is true right now is okay because it ALREADY IS. (It is fruitless to try to change reality.)
There is much noise in today’s world. Many voices compete to tell us what to do, how to do it, and why we NEED to do it this way.
When I’m still, I believe I “should” be moving. When I’m moving, I question if the action I’m taking is the “right” or “best” one.
Action is great. However, the value of pause and introspection can be overlooked.
Mindfulness is an opportunity to bring focused awareness to the present. To accept what reality is without needing to take immediate action to “fix” or change.
Tuning into the sensations in my body, emotions, and thoughts with nonattachment and equanimity allow me freedom from uncomfortable feelings which arise from my belief that I need to “take action” and “figure everything out.”
Being aware of, acknowledging, and accepting the present moment gifts me with space. In the space, I can experience the joy, peace, and beauty of life in the now.
This is the third year I’ve been involved with the Inklings Book Contest through the Society of Young Inklings. I’m proud to be a part of this contest. It is an exciting opportunity for serious young writers.
Today I had the honor of providing some writing coaching to one of the winners of the contest whose story is ultimately going to be published in the 2019 Inklings Book.
You might want to meet these amazing young authors when they sign copies of the book in August at the book launch party. Stay connected for updates and more information.
I’m excited to be offering two workshops at the next YMCA Camp Campbell Women’s Wellness Weekend in Boulder Creek, CA. The event runs from 4:00 PM Friday April 12 through noon on Sunday April 14. My workshops will be on Saturday, April 13. I’ll be leading:
Before I started my mindfulness practice, I often got caught in mental traps. Some of these traps included:
Denial —> “I’m not feeling sad, it’s all fine.”
Pushing my feelings away —> “I don’t want to feel sad.”
Overanalyzing my thoughts —> “I’m sad because of A and B and C. Oh and D and E also.”
Trying to change what’s true —> “I’m going to override the sadness by X.”
Trying to figure things out —> “I guess the sadness is related to X and if I could remove Y, then I could solve problem Z and then I wouldn’t feel so sad.”
Not accepting feelings if they’re “negative” —> “Sadness isn’t a “good” feeling – I’d rather feel happy.”
Not feeling free to share my truth and feelings with others —> “How are you?” “Fine.” Meanwhile, inner dialogue: “I’m NOT fine. Here’s all the reasons I’m NOT fine.”
Overidentifying with emotions —> “I am sad. Sadness is me. I’ve always been a sad person.”
Mindfulness allows me to feel all my feelings (including sadness), acknowledge their existence in the present, accept them as a passing experience, and let them pass. My practice of mindfulness is an ongoing and continuous process to alleviate the pain and suffering caused by each of these mental traps. While the mental traps continue occurring, my practice supports me with tools to be free.
Are you looking for an opportunity to go deeper with your gratitude practice?
Basic gratitude practice might look like:
“I am grateful for my home.”
“I’m grateful for my family.”
Remembering what you are grateful for is a great place to start.
Now call in a deeper sense of fulfillment by adding the “Why.” The “WHY” connects to the feelings of your heart. It adds personal meaning. It also will likely change over time, making your gratitude more dynamic and appealing to explore.
“I’m grateful because…”
“I’m grateful for my home because it provides me a sense of security and comfort.”
“I’m grateful for my family because I feel supported and cared for.”
Try adding the WHY to your gratitude lists. Let me know in the comments if anything shifts.
Several years ago, I was going through an intensely challenging time; it seemed I had little to be grateful for. It was easy to focus on everything that wasn’t going right. In an attempt to shift my outlook and mood, I decided to try gratitude journaling. I wanted to retrain my brain to focus on the positive.
I ended up mostly filling my journals with gratitude for my cat Leyna. When it was difficult to see the good in other aspects of my life, I could usually remember sweet or funny things she’d done that day or simply appreciate her unexpected arrival in my life. I’d remember the feeling of her purring warm presence on my lap. Appreciate her coming out of nowhere to bring me joy.
My journaling brought my focus and attention to the extraordinary relationship Leyna and I had and helped me connect with heartfelt joy. Practicing gratitude in this way changed my life for the better.