I would love to tell you that I can’t remember a time where I wasn’t always connected with my Higher self and in tune with every thing in my life.. But the thing is; I absolutely can..
I remember how poor my quality of life was and how I lived everyday looking forward to the next day, the weekend, finishing work, wrapping up a workout.. I never lived in the moment, and I always wanted ‘the better thing around the corner’..
Dead honest truth is; there is no corner and there is no better thing waiting for you out there..
The very best thing is what you are experiencing in this very moment. In this very breath. All is perfect just as it is, because no other moment is alike. This very second will never return and you will never come to experience it again. Think about it..
This thought-system can and will be a constant reminder you will subconsciously carry with you to treasure your life in more ways than one if you embark on the journey of bringing more mindfulness into your life..
Does it all ring a bell? Alarm goes off in the morning, you jump out of bed, into the shower, get the kids ready for school, drink your coffee on the run, sit down at work and eat your lunch at work, finish at 6pm, head home to cook, have a glass of wine, watch some tv and jump into bed? And before you know it, a day is over and you have been on auto-pilot since you opened up your eyes to a new day – sound familiar?
I used to be like this.. So don’t fret. We can all change – that is, if you’re willing to.
We all have habitual patterns that have developed over a multitude of years, so you wont change in a day, and nor do you need to. As the saying goes: ‘good things take time’…
And you know what? The journey is the most beautiful part of it. It’s never about the destination, but about discovering yourself along the way. That’s what mindfulness is all about.
When I first started bringing more mindfulness into my life I would make small changes and gradually ‘build’ it up to incorporate those changes more and more so it never felt overwhelming or forced. I would let the natural flow of life take up guidance in my body and follow the path it would lead me on with an open mind and heart.. Because that’s what it’s often about; opening yourself up to the possibilities and opportunities that are constantly being presented to us if only we become aware and receptive.
What was increidbly important to me, was to stay as open & soft as I possibly could as I had previously lived my life, for a very long time, with a closed heart and grown walls around my emotions, not letting my true self experience what life is really all about; living limitlessly!
It may sound very broad, and ‘un-graspable’, but the thing is, that we far too often close our hearts off to new impressions, new perspectives and, ultimately, new ways of life. This is all because of the ‘ego’. The ego rules most of our lives and is what often cuts us off from experiencing life to its fullest – meaning, mindfulness is something the ego doesn’t want to allow.
The ego is ruled by feeding your mind useless thoughts. Think about how often your mind is suddenly thinking thoughts like: ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I can’t do that job’, ‘I’m not beautiful enough’, ‘I’m not smart enough’, and the broken record continues.. It’s all an evil circle and this is how the ego continues to live on in our bodies, if we don’t become aware of the damaging effects it can have to our quality of life.
The good thing is the only constant in life is change.. This means, we can change this damaging thought-pattern, too.
The ego is not ‘real’. The ego is based on fear alone and isn’t a representation of what our truest self really is..
What we all are is energy and love. This is what our souls are born from. Fear is what we learn in this world. And now the journey to experiencing the true, beautiful world is undoing the fear we all live with.
How do we do this? Start small. As I said, it’s about incorporating little stepping stones into your life each and every day.
Here are 5 steps to becoming more mindful in your every day life:
1. Wake up and meditate
Start your day with a little meditation. Don’t worry if you ‘don’t know how to meditate’. Closing your eyes and focusing on your breath is just as valuable and is an incredible stress-release for your body.
Start with your back against the head-rest and your legs in a cross-legged position or straight out – whatever is most comfortable and less strained. Keep your hands in your lap, cup one hand in the other or simply rest then your legs.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath, fill your lungs and sigh it aaaaall out through your mouth. Now continue to breathe normally, in through your nose and out through your nose. Keep focusing on your breath.. Let thoughts come and go. As soon as you realise you are spinning into a longer chain of thoughts, just come back to your breath and re-focus.
Sit for 10-20 minutes – build up your length. Open your eyes and come out of your meditation slowly.
Notice how bright the light is now and how colours are more vivid. Feel your chest and know you’re okay whatever happens throughout the day.
2. Write down what you’re grateful for
A great and easy way to show appreciation and focus on the things that really matters to you is taking out a little notebook at the end of the day and writing down 5 things/people that you are grateful for in your life.
Our minds often tend to focus on all the things that aren’t going right in our lives, that we close out all the ones that are..
Noting down and seeing it black on white bring things into perspective and fills your heart with joy and warmth.
3. Eat with awareness
Eating mindfully can help you reclaim the pleasure of food. So many of us have become out of touch with this, one of life’s most simple and wonderful pleasures. Mindful eating will help your digestion and gut to function a lot better. And both in the medical world and spiritual world, experts are to believe that a healthy gut is the foundation for everything in life; physically, mentally and emotionally.
When you sit for your meal, turn off all distractions and focus on your immediate experience. Before you begin to eat, pause. Look at your food, take notice of the scent. Give thanks to the universe for this beautiful plate of food and bless it to nurture your body in all the ways it need.
When you eat, take small bites and eat slowly. Be fully present in the moment with your experience and feel nourished in more ways than one.
4. Mindful movement all the way
Walking is an incredible way to be mindful and something we very often forget as we simply see it as ‘getting from a to b’. Whether you’re walking around your neighbourhood, from the car to the store or through the hallways at work, you can turn it into a meditative exercise. How often do you see people, or even yourself, walking around with your head in your phone or being on a call? Exactly!
Before even rising out of your chair, turn your attention to your intent to walk mindfully. Rise and allow yourself to become aware of the sensation of standing. Put your attention on your body. Pause, take one conscious breath.
Notice how the floor feels under your feet, how your clothes feel on your skin. Pay attention to the details in your surroundings— the sunshine, the faces around you, the smiles and the birds singing in the trees.
Be present in your here and now experience.
5. Utilise suffering and pain
Mindful presence creates a heightened awareness of what we do in the moment including thoughts as they arise, our actions taken as a result of those thoughts, and the impact of those thoughts and actions on others.
We all suffer and we all go through pain – I won’t tell you that life will be without this. However, suffering and pain can be uncomfortable instead of being painful. Being uncomfortable is okay, but what life should never be is torturous.
Having gone through hard times is a beautiful thing. It gives you perspective and a barrier of measuring what true bliss and joy feel like.
Letting go is the harder part. However, it is what life is all about. Letting go of people, of things, of experiences.. So that we can find and experience our very true self.
I use these moments of intense suffering to become mindful. I challenge myself to see how present I can be with even the most painful events.
Suffering almost always happens when you’re not paying attention to something in your life. Is there something you want to do but are afraid to?
Look at where in your life you’re suffering, and ask yourself what your life is trying to tell you. You might be surprised at the answer.
All my love, Caroline xx