Breathing in I calm my body.
Breathing out I smile.
Breathing in and dwelling in the present moment.
Breathing out I know it is a wonderful moment.
-Thich Nhat Hanh from The Blooming of A Lotus.
Shauna Gullbrand and I have been speaking a lot about mindfulness after watching the film Walk With Me last week. Shauna wrote a blog post about it yesterday and I was inspired to do the same.
Mindfulness has been a part of my life for over 15 years. It has been my guide in times of darkness and in times of JOY. It is an anchoring practice. I anchor in the present moment using the simple meditation above. When I focus on my breath it naturally calms my body. When my body is calm my mind naturally follows. When I dwell in the present moment I do in fact recognize it as a wonderful moment. It is a practice. I find that it is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle until I get so caught up I trip. It is in the falling from that trip that I awaken again and sometimes now I don't fall, I just have a little mis step and awaken to the unlimited possibilities that life offers in any given moment. I practice asking myself "which possibilite will I choose?" From there I proceed with a much more open and mindful heart.
I remember a time when I was working on wrapping my head around my mother's mental illness. During this time I would walk and walk. My son would be in his stroller, I was living in Washington State at the time, right on the water. It was gorgeous. Bald eagles diving for food, the cascade mountains, Mount Rainier in the distance, clouds, rainbows, and my mindfulness practice. I would walk for hours repeating "breathing in I calm my body, breathing out I smile, breathing in and dwelling in the present moment, breathing out I know it is a wonderful moment. Over and over again. During these walks I would touch the essence of peace that exists within me and know everything would be okay with or without my mother and also how I may or may not be able to help her.
Both can exist.
This has been a prominent teaching that I have really taken to heart recently after hearing it from Carole Kammen through a workshop called The Personal Mastery Intensive. She spoke about her childhood and what she endured with a severely mentally ill mother and a father that was never around. She offered up the advice that we can have both what is happening in the world around us AND our peace. This works with anything. Take for instance the climate of the world right now. One perspective might look like absolute chaos but if we look deep enough within ourselves through our mindfulness practice we can also recognize deep peace.
Chaos and Peace can exist together. In fact it is important that they do exist together with the hope that there is not such a wide swing of the pendulum from one to the other.
So this practice of mindfulness has been a beautiful anchor for me to recognize that no matter what is happening around me I can touch peace within myself. I can also deepen that peace so much that I inhale peace and exhale peace sharing it with the world around me looking inside and outside with eyes of compassion. AND yes it really is as simple as focusing on your breath, on a mantra, on a word. It is the repetition of practice that eventually causes the response of touching JOY in the moment. Of touching peace in the moment. Of seeing the beauty that exists within and around us all the time. ALL THE TIME. What will you choose to see? What will you choose to create?
We will be offering meditation classes, mindfulness practices, and a meditation teacher course at JOY. As a matter of fact we are starting a Mindful Mid day today 11:45-1pm. We will meditate, practice mindfulness, observe silence and share inspired "downloads." This will be offered each week. Check out our website and facebook pages for any and all upcoming events, classes, and workshops.
I invite you all to join us today even if you can't be there in person to practice mindfulness from 11:45-1pm. Be part of the change. For yourself, for the world.
November 3rd at 7pm. JOY is hosting our first ever Kirtan!! Live Yoga Music. I hope to see you all there as it is a beautiful meditative experience that is meant to be shared together as a community. The cost is $20 per person.
jennifer is a mother, entrepreneur, artist, writer, peace activist, yogi, holisitc wellness and body work expert, and just a general lover of life in all its forms!