If you would’ve asked me five years ago what I thought about mindfulness… I would have likely contorted my nose and said, “Not for me!” The whole idea of keeping my body still to help my body feel better was foreign and unwelcome. As a long distance runner, I only knew healing as a long run down a winding trail on a mid-summer’s day… not sitting and stretching and heaven forbid, the “m” word.
While I still am no guru in meditation or mindfulness, I have learned through my own journey of self love, body intuition, and thriving that mindfulness is KEY to both physical and mental health. For me, I practice my mindfulness through yoga, through the few minutes of quiet I get here and there, and through practicing presence when I get the chance.
I am still a work in progress, but this has been one of the most healing things I have done for my body, soul annnnd guess what? It’s ZERO dollars to practice! If there was one vitamin I could recommend to improve the lives of every American nation wide, it would be vitamin M, mindfulness. Practice listening to your body, observing your mind, and really becoming at home with yourself.
It’s a scary place for many of us (me, included!). I still struggle on my most stressful days to take a few breaths and find some sort of calmness within me. I am a product of a consumer generation where I crave to numb, distract myself, or keep busy to avoid feelings of pain, frustration, boredom, or getting real with the not so great pieces of myself. But as I have worked to incorporate this more and more, I realize that I have found peace in my imperfections, comfort in moments of stress, and I’ve begun to hear more of my own wisdom of who I am, what my body wants, and that I don’t need ____ (insert: money, fame, drugs, sugar, popularity, perfection, clothes, to be the best, to be the most liked, to be the most anything) to feel great in my skin, and to love who I am.
And although this may sound like a selfish practice, it has been through this ability to listen and be compassionate to myself that I have developed a deeper curiosity and compassion in hearing the painful stories of others. Both celebrating in their victories and BEING with them in their darker moments. I’ve become a better listener (although, I still have quite the journey to go). And my love for others is ever-growing.
May we embrace our own journeys with love. For ourselves, for others, and for the ever-changing course.
(Written originally in 2017)