Greetings my gentle readers to this week’s installment of the “Be Yourself, Often” blog. This is a chance for all of us to sit down and mindfully and with gratitude (yes gratitude, even if the week sucked) on the week that has past us, never to return. Where we can capture in reflection even if we didnt get it and the signposts the first time around, the moments that were indeed, “The Days of our Lives”.
We started to discuss last week the concept of a Parfait driven life. Not the sort where you fill up with yogurt and fruit and whipped cream and all that good stuff (although you sure can make one if you want and then come back and read this with a good cup of strong coffee). I wanted to look at each of these 5 components and ingredients of a parfait driven life. Mindfulness, Reflection, Gratitude, Prayer/Spirituality and Altruistic giving. Along the way, we will share exercises and break bread and have a wonderful collaborative and giving/ sharing experience! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if there are any particular stories or perspectives YOU would like to share over the next 5 entries!
Mindfulness is the one that I placed at the corner stone of the equation. In fact, all 5 are cornerstones creating what I conceptualize to be a pyramid. Ther 4 bases of this pyramid will be the Mindfulness, Reflection, Gratitude and Altruistic giving with the pinnacle representing Prayer/Spirituality.
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Mindfulness in large being is a state of mind and conscious. That the patient becomes aware of the rationale for the actions that they are performing. An example would be in substance abuse for a patient in recovery. When the feel the urge to use or misuse their substance of choice, they are encouraged to be aware of the thoughts and dynamics behind the craving. Also, to “play the tape” through and ascertain what would happen if indeed they were to use again. This could be applied to eating, anxieties or PTSD flare-ups. It is also the act of being focused in the present, versus living in the past or anticipating events in the future.??
Why is mindfulness so important and what does it mean though, in the context of life and ourselves? Can we take the concepts of dreaming a dream and manifest those dreams into reality. I know that a couple weeks ago that I compared Harry Chapin‘s line from Sequel that goes “Its better some times, when we don’t get to touch our dreams“. What denotes that dream and how can we make that dream reality? As an educator, to see a dream become reality is to set a clear goal, hope or aspiration and then to make the conscious steps to make it happen. That is as such lies the challenge as people in Western society I find expect things better, faster and yesterday. 30 minutes or free. Take a pill to cure your ailments. I know I have touched on the culture of entitlement many times and I assure you that is not the way to live the dreams. Not the way to dream a dream. Living the dream is something you have to make a stand in and believe in. Whether right or wrong, it is your belief system, and really who is the judge that your belief system is wrong? To expect things to be handed to you in a flash or the past to go away in a heartbeat is irrational. If you can’t stand up for what you believe in, how do you expect to achieve it? Entitlement breeds resentments. Guaranteed. Hurts yourself and others and the great wheel of samsara and karma enter into a vicious circle.
Want to dream the dream? Mindfulness. The power to live in the moment and appreciate every step along the way. Its about the wins and the losses in equal measure. I have written before that courage is using your weaknesses and challenges to help others and still believe in that definition. Thats what Harry Chapin I feel wrote about, that maybe the dream isn’t worth it if we can’t appreciate the blessings that we have in the moment and practice mindfulness. Because the dream without belief, work and appreciating the journey is emptier. Its the expression that goes “rushing though each thing to get to the next”. Never any satisfaction. Each milestone pro or con isn’t appreciated as such.
So to live the dream and dream the dream, set a destination, get a good compass and appreciate the moments of the journey, being prepared to alter the destination as the signposts of the day dictate and tell you. That all ties into our past few weeks aviations discussions through the months of March and early April. To dream a dream is to express, live and feel and embrace our individuality, and THAT is to be mindfulful of what and who we are and what we do and say and express and convery. How do YOU let the light shine? Mindfulness is appreciating the statement that says “Everything happens for a reason”, coupled with “Each snowflake falls in a perfect place” couple with “A good explanation doesnt explain everything”.
Mindfulness is looking with acceptance and awareness of the incredible beauty about you and how it so perfectly interfaces outside the the ego-centric goal driven lives that we have, especially in Western culture. Mindfulness is then being at one with that moment vs the chaotic canstant abstrasion that we exist upon and within in every moment and being at ease with that moment and its relevant beauty and context. To be in context means to be at ease, because the opposite is to exist out of context which permeates through the body like a cancer and sadly makes and causes us dis-ease and that results in disease. And even more sadly, it is contagious if you are not mindful of the feelings and emotions.
Let us look at events, moments, people, animals, plants and minerals with love and be at ease with them… open your eyes, remove the scales from them and approach the cosmos with the open arms and eagerness of a child. For only then can you be yourself, often.