Can you believe that we are almost halfway through this month! Whoa…time flies when you are engaged in your life 🙂
It’s day 11 of the Mindfulness Challenge and I am feeling fairly positive about my progress. Yes, I still scroll my phone sometimes while I am in bed but it’s for increasingly shorter time periods. I am also doing a great job of segmenting my day and focusing on each task as it comes into play. It has made my freelance writing and part-time writing gig flow much smoother.
A couple of days ago, I had a major scare. I woke up in the early hours of the morning with excruciating pain in my chest and arm. I’m 31 years old, but I honestly thought I was having a heart attack. My dad had one in his 40s and in our stressful world it’s becoming more commonplace to have those issues at a younger age.
Thankfully, that was not the case, but something was seriously malfunctioning with my body. I usually write off things to stress but I’m taking this incident seriously. A big part of being mindful is paying attention to your body when it speaks to you. Right now, mine is saying that something is amiss and I need to find out what is going on. I’m a little sore today, but even more thankful for my life. I thought about what would have happened if it were a life-changing event like a heart attack or a stroke. I know we cannot control when we die and that makes me want to be more purposeful about how I live. It’s almost like divine confirmation that I am on the right path.
During this journey, I have 6 main tools that I am using to foster mindful living:
I hate washing dishes but I love to cook! I have been sharpening my culinary skills for a few years and I am pretty good at most things except desserts. I need work on my cakes and stuff, y’all lol! I ordered Together, the cookbook from the Hubb Community Kitchen. The Duchess of Sussex came together with women who cooked for displaced residents from the Grenfell Tower fire. I’m a Suits fan, so I’ve loved Meghan for quite some time and I love trying new foods, so this was a double win for me. Cooking is one of the easiest ways to live in the present moment and I am going to immerse myself in a recipe later this week!
When I am in the kitchen grating cheese, I simply grate the cheese. When I made my candied yams, I focused on the ingredients. It felt so freeing and satisfying to see my Sunday meal come together because I was deeply entrenched in the process.
Scheduled Family Time
Each day, I set aside a bit of time to talk with my kids. It doesn’t have to be for hours on end, but taking 20 or 30 minutes to focus solely on your kids really makes a big difference. If you don’t have kids, take that time to engage with a neighbor, have a meaningful conversation with a friend over dinner, or call a loved one and just chat. Making it a priority to put aside time (each day if possible) to connect with a loved one is everything. I get to learn more about others and they get to understand me. It’s incredibly uplifting and a reason why being mindful is so vital to a fulfilled life.
That is my time to be alone and not talk to anyone. By that point, my family is usually in bed. I have DND (do not disturb) activated on my phone. And, the TV is off. I have been taking that slice of time to simply enjoy and be thankful for warm water and to let my mind draw a blank while I’m standing in the shower or relaxing in the tub. No music, no podcasts, no outside stimulation. It’s pure bliss.
Okay…I’m not doing so hot with this one so far. I am working on a science fiction novel and it is the perfect escape from all of my daily stressors. I have been very busy lately with writing work and social obligations, but I have made small slices of time to build my world. I get to set specific rules and constructs there and I become so immersed in the process that I forget about the time. If you aren’t a writer, then find something that makes you forget about looking at your phone or checking your watch. It might throw your schedule off, but you won’t regret it.
Meditation (2x a day)
Meditation isn’t for everyone, but it works for me! It’s my favorite way to start and end my day to find peace. It’s a method for clearing junk out of my head and just allowing myself to occupy a space in between this realm and the next one. I don’t get caught up in my breathing techniques or mantras too much because in the end it’s about simply being present.
Reading and writing work the same way for me. But, I want to make sure I am focusing on positive content. So, I’m reading Oprah’s book The Wisdom of Sundays. I love the Super Soul Sunday show and podcast, so I immediately jumped at the chance to have a book full of wonderful quotes and musings from her guests. It is one of the most uplifting books I have read in a long time and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is going through a spiritual shift in their life.