Photos and stories that attempt to understand the world we live in . . .

Posts tagged ‘mindfulness’

Life’s Turns

Here I am back again.

Lots has happened in the past two years or so–expanded family, moving, politics, COVID and so much more. Now it’s time to focus on writing and photography again and build on what I started here a few years ago. This zigzag split rail fence is a good reminder that although life doesn’t always go in the linear path you’d hope, you do keep moving forward as each day passes like it or not. It’s really the only way you can go and the trick is to learn to let go of the things behind you that are holding you back, while at the same time, not letting what’s ahead keep you feeling stuck.

Learning to be in the moment, appreciate the here and now, so you can move forward with confidence. Not forgetting the past, but letting it teach and guide you rather you rather than shame you and hold you back. These are among the themes I’ll pick up on along with whatever else the path reveals.

Stay tuned for more . . .

Advertisement

What’s Real?

What-s Real-

I spend a lot of time helping people think about what’s real. I don’t mean that all the people I see are delusional and ungrounded. In the age of the internet we are inundated with news, events, and a lifetime of experiences that can lead our thinking to be inaccurate and unhelpful and we can easily lose sight of what’s real and accurate.

So it’s important to spend a few moments thinking about what’s real.

Before we hit that share button on Facebook.

Before we accept the media’s account of events and current affairs.

And most importantly, before we accept our own negative self talk.

As we’ve seen over and over again, Facebook and the internet in general, perpetuates falsehoods and outright lies, often for years after a story has been debunked. The nature of the internet and media allows us too easily to see and hear only the stories and opinions that support and reinforce our own personal point of view. This can lead us to a very biased view of the world that is blissfully unaware and/or unsympathetic of alternative ways of understanding. It also feeds the anxiety and unsettled feelings so many of us carry; feelings that affect our attitudes and often, our health.

But it’s our own internal dialogue that can be the most harmful. That inner voice telling us we’re not good enough, smart enough, etc. We come to a point fairly early in life where we passively accept that voice despite any evidence demonstrating that we are good, we are smart, and we have good things to offer the world.

Maybe it’s time to try turning off the computer, the news feeds, the inner voice. The first two are easier—simply unplug the electronics. Talk with friends, engage in interesting activities, connect with nature. These actions will also help tame the inner voice. Mindfulness meditation also helps calm the inner voice by raising our awareness, which is a first step in learning to change that dialogue.

Begin by asking yourself, is it real?

 

 

The Simplicity of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a common phrase these days and offered as kind of a cure all for stress and the key to living a happy, productive life. While mindfulness may be considered the latest thing to fix us, the concept has been around since ancient times and simply involves being present in the present moment. One of the founders of the current mindfulness movement, Jon Kabat-Zinn, defines mindfulness as, “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.” This means not only paying attention to who we are with and what we are doing, but also to what we are thinking and feeling. Learning to pay attention in this way takes practice, but when we learn to pay attention we begin to see things in new ways and we can begin to make positive changes.

One of the best parts of mindfulness aside from helping us be more present, is that it can be practiced anywhere at any time. Nothing special is necessary—no sitting cross legged on special pillows, no special robes or rooms, and no apps, though plenty of all of these can be found. The simplest mindfulness exercise is simply paying attention to your breath. Practicing a mindfulness breath meditation 5-10 minutes a day can have a powerful effect in lowering your stress and help you be present for the important moments in your life.

This two minute video gives you the basics and will help you get started. Please let me know what you think in the comments here and if you have any questions or want to learn more. Meditation 101: A Beginner’s Guide Animation

Catching Up

We set out with the best of intentions and then life happens. Always does. It’s been quite awhile since I wrote that last post a year and a half ago, so let me catch up on a few things before I attempt again to make a regular go of this space.

Unknown to me at the time, the most significant event was developing as I wrote that last post about mindful running. Just a few days later I found out that my oldest brother had some pretty serious cancer going on. It took a solid year of various treatments, surgeries, and drugs to get him in good place again where thankfully he remains, though treatment still continues. Perhaps needless to say, that was one event to change my focus. Somewhere in the middle of brother’s adventure my stepfather passed away after a lengthy illness. His departure set off another chain of events within the family that are rippling.

Another significant happening during this time was my shift from part time to full-time work as a mental health therapist. Lots of focus on establishing my office, building a client base, and learning the unique and challenging ways of the insurance industry. As for running, I’m still at it. I’ve finished four half marathons so far and shed many pounds along the way. I still find running to be a nice way to work at being mindful and notice the world around me. I do have to admit that I sometimes slip on the headphones now to help motivate and entertain during some runs. It’s challenging and perhaps unnecessary to be mindful all of the time and listening to music can be a mindful activity in itself.

So maybe now, after a year and half, things have settled down enough to allow me to be more present here. I have wisdom to share and thoughts about the world and life that I hope you’ll find interesting. Hoping to be back here very soon, but then Life keeps happening.