Everyone has heard about mindfulness. It is often confused with gratitude or positive thinking, enjoying the moment. Or it’s about being calm, centered, grounded, clearing your mind, etc.
Mindfulness in the purest sense is not about any of those things, although they may come along for the ride. Mindfulness is about attending to, and observing closely, moment-to-moment awareness and experience, without judging or controlling. Sounds easy, but it’s the task of a lifetime.
Whatever people look like when they’re meditating, they are usually pretty busy inside. It takes very active attention to notice what you’re noticing, to notice what you’re experiencing. And it’s hard work to notice when you’re no longer noticing.
One way of thinking about mindfulness is that it’s about showing up, with as much full attention as you can manage, to any given moment. It is about being willing to experience whatever comes in any moment. This may include being uncomfortable and exploring those sensations, without automatically adjusting so you can feel more comfortable. You might have to notice very challenging thoughts and feelings that arise when you are not busy with activity and noise. And you might notice a desire to avoid those thoughts and feelings. But mindfulness is about noticing all of that and trying to remain in contact with anything that you can notice.
And there is power in showing up, for all of the moments of your life, come what may. It can be a way of claiming your life. It is yours, after all, and time is the only thing you have. But there is such courage and beauty in being will to show up for your life, to claim it all, to encounter it all. Don’t run away from “negative” experiences – they all belong to you. If you don’t experience your full life now, then when?
Feel free to contact me if you want to talk about mindfulness. - Karen Keys