Making Space for Mindfulness

Last week I had the honor of speaking on a panel of health and wellness experts at the @vitalproteins headquarters. During the discussion, Darrell Jones of Chill Chicago stated, “Meditation is about cultivating a relationship with yourself. One that is generous, compassionate and allowing.” I couldn’t agree more.

However, even in our activities of self care we tend to be hard on ourselves...we judge the frequency, "I do it too little, I do it too much." We judge the quality of our engagement, "I did, I didn't do it right." Meditation is no different...time and time again I hear, "I tried it, I'm not good at it, so I stopped."

In practicing meditation, like many things, we tend to over complicate the process. Mindfulness simply means paying attention on purpose without judgement. Examples include hearing your own breath and feeling the sensation of the rise and fall of your chest or belly, observing all the color and detail of a painting without thinking it’s good, bad, right, or wrong.

The mind, like a puppy dog, without training, can cause an awful mess. However, with loving attention, time, and training, the puppy dog and the mind become our best friend.

Our training, our practice needn't be more than 5 minutes a day, and as I heard Darrel suggest, needn’t be more than taking one or two conscious breaths. By committing to a few simple practice sessions a day, by attaching the awareness of non-judgemental observation to a ritual or routine that you already have in place, like washing the dishes or brushing your teeth, you’ll begin to carve out the space more easily than you may initially think.

When we commit to a mindfulness practice, to seeing ourselves and the world that surrounds us as it is rather than how it should or could be, we cultivate an ability to see, with clear eyes and an open heart, how beautiful the present moment can truly be.