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What exactly is mindfulness? Sometimes I wonder what this even means. Here I have selected this as part of my website name and my Facebook page name yet do I even know what it means. There are many online definitions. So how should we take them? One says it is maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness and not being judgmental of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. Another one says mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Now to think about how we would practice mindfulness in our everyday lives. I just went for a walk around the neighborhood. During the walk I tried to be conscious of my breathing, the weather, and my surroundings. I attempted to not think about work or tasks that I must do at home. When I did think of those things I tried to refocus on my breath. I tried to notice people and say hello.  This wasn’t easy to be honest. I kept thinking about what the plans were for the weekend what I needed to do, what happened during the week, etc. So, I can say I am not very good at it. However, I am just starting out. I even found this free app that I plan to start using for the mindful meditation. ( ). So far, the first few lessons were very good.  

So, what I thought mindfulness meant and which maybe it still could mean, was being aware of the things I can control and the things I cannot control. For example, my reaction to something someone says to me. Instead of immediately reacting with an emotion of any type. I should stop feel the feeling I’m feeling and figure out without judgement how to respond or not respond. This brings up something a person told me once. You can’t control the person you are interacting with; you can only control your reactions to their behaviors. Taking a minute to evaluate what you heard/saw, how you feel about what your heard/saw, and then deciding on your response. That response could be asking for clarification or asking for explanation of why the person did or said something. Immediate reaction tends to get us in danger with relationships.  

Mindfulness could also mean paying attention to someone while in a conversation. There is so many times I see people at restaurants having dinner “together”, yet they are on their phone the whole time. What happened to enjoying conversation and enjoying the meal. Like really being mindful of what you are putting in your mouth. Figuring out what you taste and what is the texture. Experience the food. You know sometimes you think the food is so good because of the experience you are having while eating the food. When you go back to enjoy the food again the experience might be different, and you may not enjoy it as much. Maybe the next time you sit down to have a meal with family, a spouse, or a friend put the phone down and experience the meal.

Mindfulness at work is one I need to work on sometimes. I could be in a meeting, filling out a spreadsheet, talking to someone on teams, and running a program all at once. I sometimes wonder am I being productive or counterproductive. What did I miss in the conversation? Did they assign me something and I wasn’t paying attention? Did I read the teams chat incorrectly and not answer with the most accurate response? So now I am challenging myself to actually listen to the meeting instead of being distracted by a ping on teams or something else. Try to bring myself back to the meeting when thoughts or things distract me. Maybe write down the distracting thought so I don’t forget but put in on the back burner and come back to it when I can be in the moment with it.  

Going back to the being non-judgmental part of the definition, this I find particularly complicated. How can you not be judgmental about it? How can you not tell yourself you should feel that way etc.? I guess that will also come with practice and time. Learning to treat myself with kindness and allow myself to feel the feeling I’m feeling and understanding that feeling. We don’t always have to be positive. We can sit with being sad, upset, distraught. We just cant allow the feelings to consume us.

I plan to take one day at a time and learn to be in my new normal, practice mindfulness, learn how to be kind to myself, and allow myself to feel what I’m feeling without judgement. I will follow up with how the app is working and how I’m doing in a later blog.