Have you ever had a day like this? As you sip your first cup of coffee, you think, “Today is going to be a good day. I feel great; the kids are still sleeping, and I have an easy day at work.” You sigh a sigh of gratitude, smile to yourself and then…..well, you know, life starts happening. Maybe you spill coffee all over your only ironed shirt; or your partner says something at breakfast that breaks your mood. For whatever reason, peace and contentment are nowhere to be seen, and you have no idea how to them back.
Practicing mindfulness may help you regain your equilibrium and return you to that feeling-state of peace and contentment. Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad.
As you look down at your shirt front covered in coffee, instead of dropping into the emotion of “OMG, I’ve just ruined my shirt; I don’t know what’s left to wear in my closet, and this whole day is starting to really stress me out,” you pause and breathe. Yes, that’s right. Breathe. In and out, in and out, noticing the air as it expands your lungs and the sensation of cool air on your skin from the exhale. Stop, breathe and feel – that’s it.
As you hit the pause break, you gain some distance from your emotions. Instead of falling into the story of how this incident will ruin our day, we step back and look at ourselves with detachment, neutrality and even a little amusement.
Amusement is a very light and playful energy. It’s a great tool to help us move from a grumbly state of mind to one of appreciation, joy and ease. Amusement allows us to ask, to wonder why, and to move into a state of acceptance of things just the way they are, without drama.
It could be that the spilled coffee is letting us know that we are not grounded and that we may be allowing other peoples’ energies to enter our space. It could be that we’ve taken on too many obligations and shoulds from other people and haven’t had time to notice that the coffee cup was teetering on the edge of the counter.
Standing back from the situation and looking at it with neutrality and awareness has a tremendous impact on the quality of our experience.
As we hit the pause button and breathe, we stop to ask ourselves, “How am I doing? What’s going on here?” If we settle ourselves down by centering and grounding to the earth, it will allow us to take a breath and see the situation from a different perspective.
This is living mindfully. Being present to whatever comes up and dealing with it in a nonjudgmental manner.
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