Over the past year, I’ve been working to bring mindfulness into all aspects of my life. In addition to starting my day with slow, deep breathing, happy thoughts, a crafted coffee, meditation and sunshine, I’ve been consciously working to “come back to the now” when thoughts race and actions get harried.
Returning to sports has helped, as many can probably relate. There is nothing better than being “in the zone,” especially as an equestrian where a calm, focused demeanor lets your partner know you are right there supporting their efforts.
The results have been surprising and noticeable to those around me. My overall happiness has increased; I’ve become a more thoughtful listener, more even keeled, and a more compassionate friend. Life just feels better.
This past week, our daughter and granddaughter came to town for a few days. Her school break fell on deadline week for me, which would normally create stress as I figured out how to juggle work and rare time with the pre-teen in our lives. I made the conscious choice to spend all waking hours with them during their four-day visit, to be whole-heartedly present in our activities and time together….and it was magical. My husband even commented on what a kind, thoughtful and fun person I was to be around. We hiked, spent a day at The Living Desert, played in the pool, cooked nourishing meals and ate ice cream for breakfast.
When they left, the workload fell into place with no added stress, which is the beauty of “going with the flow;” everything just seems to work out.
Later that week, I sat down to a meditation that further shed light on the magic of mindfulness. Daily Calm narrator Tamara Levitt introduced the Pali word sati, which means mindfulness. In its earliest origins, however, sati meant to remember or recollect. How could a practice about living in the present be named for a word that represents the past?
One explanation Levitt offers is that every moment of awareness is colored by the outlook we bring to it. A key element to mindfulness is to recollect an outlook you wish to bring to each experience and the qualities that follow, including focus, clarity, acceptance and compassion. “This is not easy,” she notes, “because our busy world often makes us forget these softer qualities. We are pulled back into harsher ways of viewing things. In practicing mindfulness, we are reminded to bring those qualities and our chosen outlook with us into all we do, even when we are not sitting down to meditate.”
This is mindfulness, remembering to not only be present but to be patient, accepting, compassionate and softer in each moment.
What a wonderful awakening that was for me. I didn’t realize I was practicing these qualities; they just came with the conscious effort to be present in the moment.
The Daily Calm concluded with this quote from Buddhist monk Thích Nhâ´t Hnah:
“We try many ways to be awake, but our society still keeps us forgetful. Meditation is to help us remember.”
May we all strive to incorporate mindfulness into our lives. The gifts that follow just might surprise you, and the memories created can be magical.
Lauren Del Sarto
JOIN US March 11 @ 4pm:
Happy Hour with Desert Health: Living in the Moment featuring Jens Christian Springmann of Satisfied Being.