What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is about Awakening the Auto-Pilot. We often go through our lives on auto-pilot, running from one thing to the next not really being conscious of how we are feeling, where our thoughts are, and whether or not we really need to be doing all we’re doing. Oftentimes this leaves us exhausted because we may be overdoing it – over-thinking things we really don’t need to be thinking about (or thinking so much about it) and doing things we might really not need to do.
Mindfulness is becoming aware of the present moment. The awareness of the present moment connects your “monkey mind” or “spinning thoughts” to your body and your experience in each moment. This awareness allows you to be aware of and to choose how you want to think, feel, and act in that moment.
Mindfulness allows you to be aware of where you expend your energy (and choose where you want your energy to go!) instead of mindlessly being on auto-pilot and feeling exhausted.
Mindfulness is true empowerment.
Why become Mindful?
If you struggle with stress, anxiety, irritability, anger, spinning thoughts, trouble sleeping, and dealing with difficult people then mindfulness can be very helpful. Mindfulness involved “letting go” of things you can’t control (as well as not making meaning out of things that don’t warrant meaning.) When you start to let go and become more mindful, you’ll start to feel calmer and at peace in all areas of your life. It’s wonderful!
How does Mindfulness differentiate from Meditation?
Mindfulness is the first and most basic step in meditation, contemplative prayer, and other stillness practices. Becoming more aware of the present moment, striving for a non-judgmental mindset, and creating space for stillness can be very difficult for most people. The approach I take to mindfulness and meditation is very practical, down-to-earth, and easy to use. I strive to make mindfulness accessible to all people, even people who think, “I could never do that!” At The Mindfulness Center, we teach mindfulness methods you can do while you’re doing your everyday tasks like driving, doing the dishes, folding laundry, showering, and eating meals.
We aren’t trying to force anything, but want to work with ourselves to gently invite and allow mindfulness into our everyday lives. Allow your journey of a mindful life to be an organic process. It is gradual and takes time. A strong, sturdy oak tree doesn’t just appear overnight. It takes time, stillness, sun, water, and nutrients for growth to happen.
What if I’m worried that I won’t be able to sit still or get my mind to be quiet?
Congratulations! You’re human!
The mind’s job is to wander. With mindfulness, we learn how to pay attention, without judgment to where it wanders to and gently bring it back to where you intended your focus to be.
Be gentle with yourself and the expectations you have (a lesson we talk about in our classes and groups!). Often we talk to ourselves very harshly and have very high expectations of ourselves. Guess what, Mindfulness invites us to be more compassionate with ourselves (and others). Does that seem impossible? It might feel that way at first. As you stick with it you’ll see how freeing being more mindful actually is!
And here’s why these classes and groups could be ideal for you. I like to balance practicing mindfulness and meditation (quiet, stillness, some guided imagery, right-brained) with some lessons (talking, learning, cognitive, left-brained). I also balance structure with fluidity during our time together. There is no set curriculum or structure that I work from.
Much of my teaching of mindfulness comes from how I work with clients on a one-on-one basis that addresses topics such as:
- Setting better boundaries
- Learning effective coping skills for anxiety and depression
- How to make big changes in your life or how you operate
- Resistance to change
- Having better relationships
- Finding deeper connections with our partners and spouses