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The steps I take daily to create Mindfulness
What is Mindfulness and Why should you want it?
I have become a firm believer in living in a state of Mindfulness. You might ask, just what is Mindfulness and why is it something I should strive for?
We all know the pleasure of being mindless at times and just going with the flow. This is a beautiful gift we give to ourselves that takes us out of the stress and worry of day to day life.
So, you may wonder why would we want to work at a state of mindful awareness? What could possibly be the purpose, or reward of this?
Many people are writing about the power in our thoughts to create and shape our reality. Many authors have penned many best selling books about this very theory and how to capture more positive energy and even more money in your life by simply harnessing the power of your mind and your thoughts. It is said that what we focus on with intention we manifest. Said another way, if we think a lot about positive things we have the power to manifest them in our lives; just as by dwelling on the negative energy we can create more of that in our lives as well.
I am learning that by living in a Mindful state, that I can be more aware of those thoughts that are going through our heads from the moment we waken until we go to sleep. It can be powerful stuff to be aware of all that we are thinking and shape it when we find it leading us where we'd rather not be.
I have come up with several steps throughout my day that help me maintain a Mindful state and to block the negative while embracing more of the positive in my life. Follow with me and we'll go through these steps so that you too might find yourself creating a bit more positive energy and outcome in your daily lives.
Step One-Before you even get up for the day
I find the most important place to begin with your Mindful practice is before you even rise from sleep to begin your day. It has become helpful to me to lie quietly and just let myself waken before thinking too much about what I have to do for the day.
One thing you can try to aid this process is to set an intention before you fall asleep the night before of what your day is going to look like. If you do this, you will find it easier to take these precious few moments first thing to simply be and not fret about the day ahead.
I also like to ponder what I am thankful for in my life. There is simply not much more powerful in life than to express gratitude. You may feel that you have nothing much to be grateful for, or that you need some big, specific things to express gratitude. I would argue that gratitude can be for something as simple as being awake and having the opportunity to begin a new day!
Perhaps when you wake you hear a bird singing, or recall a snippet of a dream that was particularly enjoyable. Those are both things you can find gratitude for. You may be someone who prays, and this is an ideal time to just say a quick prayer of thanks for the new day.
I went through an extremely difficult patch not long ago; following a big life change and dealing with a chronically ill loved one I would wake up and feel pretty bad almost as soon as my eyes opened and I registered consciousness. But, I did not want to carry that feeling with me into the day. I began focusing in the morning on anything I could think of that I was grateful for. This really helped take me out of the negative mindset of what challenges my day might have in store for me and put me into a place of just feeling hopeful and positive about the things I could be grateful for.
I know, for many of you life has dealt you a rotten hand of cards, and you may be thinking that this task is going to be impossible as you are feeling like there is nothing to be happy about or grateful for. But, in trying to find that one thing, no matter how elusive, that you can be grateful for, you have already started the mindfulness shift in motion!
Your spirit wants to be happy; it wants to find joy no matter how difficult that may seem. By finding gratitude in simply being awake, or knowing that you have a bed to sleep in, you have started the positive flow and magnetic attraction for more good in your day, and in your life!
Step 2-Making time for some type of Meditative Practice
I know many of you have very busy lives. It may feel like being directed to spend any amount of time in meditation is simply not possible. But, meditation or a meditative practice need not be a lengthy thing. You can find a meditative place inside and spend even 5 minutes and will achieve progress toward your goal of being mindful.
When we are mindful, we won't allow negative energy to take us over and be washed away by it. We need this state of mind in order to catch ourselves when we are expressing negative self talk, or doubt or misery over what we might not have.
I like to take a few minutes before I speak to anybody to meditate and consider the day before me. My new practice has me lighting incense and burning a candle, then sitting quietly with my feet on the floor and my hands in my lap. You can put your hand on your heart center, or you can lie down; there is no wrong way to do this.
I like to then open my mind and imagine that my root chakra is drawing up energy from the earth and my crown chakra is open and flowing and absorbing energy from the heavens above. I imagine myself as a conduit of this energy flow and then I have an intention in my mind about letting go of any negativity and allowing positive energy to flow into me. This can be done in 5 minutes; though if one has the time and the desire you can spend much longer in this state.
I have been following this, by taking my Tarot deck and shuffling it and then randomly choosing one card and reading it's meaning. This will often feel like an instruction for my day or confirmation about a dream I had the night before or a problem that I'm seeking guidance with.
Now, this is just my practice and I don't expect it to be a practice all of you wish to emulate. But, you can take my ideas and you can create something that is meaningful for you! Perhaps you would prefer going outside first thing and experiencing the sunrise, or simply breathe in the fresh air outside and contemplate the direction you would like your day to take. Again, there is no right or wrong way to do this. Just find a few moments each day, preferably at the start, and be calm and quiet and breathe deeply. You will find that this is a great way in which to set your mind to be open and to experience more positive energy throughout your day.
Step 3-Share in your Joy
This is my favorite step of all, as it lets me share my own joy with others. By doing this, I am creating even more joy for myself. It is fine to do whatever you do each day to find a sense of peace and tranquility and positive energy. But, without sharing it, it remains rather fixed and does not grow or expand.
When you share the joy you are feeling with others, you are not only adding to their pleasure and positive experience but deepening your own.
I'm not suggesting that you need to actively go about telling people in so many words what it is in life that makes you happy. You certainly can do this when it is comfortable for both parties and practical.
But, I am speaking more to how you live your life and it being an endorsement for a Mindful life and mindset. If you are mindfully working at having positive thoughts and drawing positive energy, you are likely radiating that outward to those who see you. It might come through in the expression on your face, or the lilt in your voice when you speak. Maybe you have become lighter hearted and are better able to share your joy in simply being more positive and less negative about the daily minutiae of life.
We all know how unpleasant it is to be around somebody who is always cranky and expressing their misery. We will often avoid these people, rather than to feel dragged down by them. But, we can actually lift others by being upbeat and positive.
For instance, maybe you are at work and the office curmudgeon comes along and starts carping about the traffic they encountered on the way to work. You counter with your morning experience of seeing a bird nest with three little babies in it and how it made you feel so happy. They continue to complain about how long it took to get to work and how miserable it was, and how they just hate their commute! You have a choice here; you can walk away from them without saying a word, though this is a little bit rude. Or you can say something like "why continue to be upset about the drive, now that it is over?". Or you can simply redirect the conversation by ignoring the comments about the negative drive experience and saying something else that is positive about the day so far for you.
In any case, you aren't letting this curmudgeon's negative experience become YOUR negative experience! You are stopping the negativity in it's tracks by simply not playing along.
It is much easier and more common to get into the story with them. You can commiserate that "yes, traffic really stinks and it sucks that we have to drive in it". But, now you have lowered your own energy and you've done nothing to lift the other person.
You may find that the curmudgeon is not impressed with your intent to keep things on the high road; they may take offense and even get angry that you aren't supporting them in their misery. But, they also may become mindful of their own negativity and how they are staying stuck in it. I don't think this is something that is going to happen in one encounter. It may take several repeated encounters before the curmudgeon even sees that you are redirecting them. They also may just stop talking to you and find somebody else who wants to play the "poor me" game with them.
If the latter occurs, you've still sort of corrected the problem as you really didn't want to be around this person's negative energy. It would be nice if we could make changes that would bring the other person into our realm, but we can't always get people to come along. Or, just maybe that person is going to take this in, and it will just be a bit longer before they are ready to focus on the positive.
I really feel that by living in your light you will do the most for those who are around you in your day to day life. Be open and be yourself and keep directing your interactions to be positive. You will draw so much more positive into your life that it will be well worth the few people it alienates.
Living in Mindful Harmony
I feel that by starting out your day quietly and finding gratitude, then finding time to meditate and be grounded you are setting in play a recipe for a Mindfully positive day.
When you are living in this mindful state you are more able to catch negativity before it catches you! By that I mean, that if you are mindful you can stop a negative thought before it's been expressed, or you can direct some loving energy where you want it to go in a way that you aren't able to do when you are not living in this Mindful reality.
The rewards for you are endless! When we are living in a mindful place of peace and gratitude we will sleep better, have a better appetite and generally just feel better altogether. People will naturally gravitate to you when you are exuding more of this positive, mindful energy.
And the negative people and situations in life that are inevitable will not be so much of a burden to you. You will become stronger about seeing the negative and then thwarting it before it takes hold of your psyche and your spirit.
As I mentioned earlier, one way to ensure that you wake more peacefully and are able to find some gratitude is by setting the intention for the coming day before you go to sleep.
You can lie quietly before sleep and contemplate the "to do" list for the next day. You can journal it if that feels more concrete to you. This does not have to be a difficult or time consuming thing, just something you do so that there is less anxiety upon waking in the morning.
For me, it is a simple, brief consideration that tomorrow I am going to "write a blog", brush the dog, clean the house and buy groceries.
Clear the cobwebs of negativity out of your mind before you retire to sleep for the night. Perhaps before you go to bed you want to talk to anybody who you might be feeling angry at so that you can let it go thus having a better sleep. Or, again you might take some time to journal or write about what might be keeping you from feeling positive upon retiring.
These steps as I've outlined can be very simple, but very powerful in creating a Mindful state of mind and of being. I promise you that by being mindfully grateful and positive you will find more and more to be grateful for and positive about!