I’ve been hearing it so much lately… “I can’t do mindfulness”. Friends, clients, even my spouse seem to have learned somewhere that it is something to be accomplished or that it requires some special type of talent. The truth is: you can do mindfulness. And it can help you through your recovery.
Sure, the practice of being mindful has been trending. And, like most things when they trend, there is a certain type of fantasy or expectation of what this trend is and who is worthy enough to participate in it. It’s time to set the record straight and get back to the foundation of what mindfulness really is and how you and I and anyone at all who chooses can explore it.
First, what mindfulness is NOT:
Mindfulness is not a destination or finish line.
Mindfulness is not a special talent.
Mindfulness is not something that can be failed at.
Mindfulness is not just for the easily focused.
A way to train your brain.
For anyone who is willing to pay attention.
Free of expectation.
If you practice you can do mindfulness
The literal definition goes something like this: The practice of paying attention to one thing in the moment intentionally and without judgement.
It is redirecting the brain over and over to that one focal point of your choosing, whatever you decide it to be, and leaving out any opinion of judgment about the thing or yourself or the moment.
It is the practice of mindfulness that counts and makes the difference.
The practice can help calm your mind over time, noticing when your mind gets distracted and bringing it back to focus, over and over again, as many times as you need.
Try, Try Again
Its not about how many times you get distracted, but instead, catching the mind when it does get distracted and guiding it back.
So, maybe it feels unattainable for the mind to be free of thoughts and totally focused 100% of the time. I sure know it does for me, and I’ve been practicing it for over a decade now.
In the small moments of life:
When I’m driving in my car, when I am sitting with my spouse, when I am walking past the river. I can choose to practice paying attention without the added layer of judgement or expectation.
It’s sitting for a few moments in silence, counting my breaths as they move in and out, over and over and over again.
Mindfulness only requires the intention to practice, not any other special skill and talent. So, if you have that, then yes, you CAN do mindfulness anytime you choose. Now, go out there, and pay attention, warrior! Your life is waiting for you!