Pause

Pause

One definition of mindfulness is present time, non-judgmental, investigative awareness. That’s a lot to take in.

Let’s break it down.

Start with present time. Present time means the now, the moment that we are experiencing right now at this exact moment. Not thinking about the past or the future just being with what ever comes up now.

Non-judgmental means to just be with the experience without adding any judgments to the thoughts. They are not good or bad, they just are. We as humans have been conditioned to judge, this is a moment of non-judging. Just seeing what the experience brings without any added habitual constraints.

Investigative means to look inward, remember this is an inside journey. We are trying to understand our inner landscape and how our inner world works and influences us and just investigate the experience again without any judgment. As we investigate our experience we can attempt to see it with what is considered “Beginners mind”. It means to see things as if it were the first time we see them. It brings us some new perspective to a sometimes-stale outlook.

Awareness means to simply pay attention to the body and mind and all the sensations that move us. We are always aware in our lives. The question to me is “What are we aware of?” When we are aware of awareness we can direct our attention to a wiser response to our life.  Become the watcher.

In my experience one of the best ways to be mindful is to simply pause. Pause and take a breath and feel the air enter into our bodies. Either we feel it at the tip of our nose or in our chest or even in the rising and falling of our belly. I go where I feel the breath the easiest. I usually focus on the entering and exiting of the breath at the tip of my nose feeling the cool air entering and the warmer air exiting.

Pause

Remember It’s Only Stuff

Be safe

Saying Good Bye

Saying Good Bye

The holidays can be filled with great pleasure but sometimes its filled with great pain and despair.  This is one of those times.  As I once read: Life is filled with 10,000 sorrows and 10,000 joys.  This is one of the sorrows.

It’s with immense sadness and grief that I say good bye to my best friend, Teeva.  We have spent the past 13 years together.  Our times were filled with mischief and unconditional love for each other.  Our many journeys have filled my life with tremendous pleasure and gratitude.  She is now out of pain and I’m so appreciative for all the lessons that she taught me.  She taught me to be in the moment without looking for something in the past or the future.

I will miss her greatly.  Be safe my friend.

Grief

Grief

Grief is a very interesting emotional state of mind. It’s interesting because we all will, at one point or another, have to deal with the consequences of grief in our lifetime. It is interesting to me because we all deal with grief in our own way.

Some people hide and attempt to avoid the painful emotional experiences in their lives. In my experience when we try to avoid pain we actually run towards it. I believe I read that somewhere.

When I have dealt with grief in my life I usually ran the other way and what I noticed is that the grief seemed to hang around a lot longer. Now that I use mindfulness to watch my emotions, my strong emotions, like grief, seemed to still be there for me to deal with, but now it doesn’t stay as long as it once did.

Watching it arise and then putting it in its proper place has assisted me tremendously. I like to share some tools that I use to process the grief, or any strong emotions that arise.

I use the following acronym: RAIN

Here’s how it works. When I feel a strong emotion arising, for example grief, I usually feel it in my body. I can feel the emotions in my belly or feel my chest tighten up and my breathing becomes shallow. See for yourself where you feel the emotions. Maybe your jaw tightens up or you feel it somewhere in your body.

When I feel it then I start the R.A.I.N. process.

R = Recognize. I recognize the emotion to exist; usually it arises in the body for me.
A = Allow. I allow the feeling to be there. I feel it with my entire body and mind
I = Investigate. I investigate where the emotion has come from. Usually it’s from a thought that triggers in my mind and then it travels down into the body.
N = Nurture. I nurture the pain, sending kindness to the mind and body.

When I do that a few times, it usually takes away the intensity of the emotion. Now the emotion is still there, however I’m able to process it more quickly and I realize that it’s only an emotion that isn’t personal but just an emotion that travels through my body. Remember that everything is impermanent. I’ll go into impermanence in a future article.

Hope this tool helps when you are feeling a strong, intense emotions in your mind and body.

Be safe