Why Mindfulness Matters

Why does life seem so busy? So rushed? What happened to downtime. Reflection & renewal time?

Maybe it’s always been this way and we’re only just noticing?

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Here’s what I think: that we just forgot how to say no.

Hmmm….maybe we should take some lessons from our children!

If your life is anything like mine, you’re always needed.

And if you’re not crystal clear on what’s most important to you, you might be saying yes to too many things.

Whether it be social commitments, purchases & stuff, classes, programs, doing everything for your kids or spouse or family…. because it’s just easier than fighting, volunteering to appease your people pleasing tendencies….

Or maybe you’re just fighting the feelings of stress by disengaging or numbing out and you feel like you’re just stuck in survival mode.

Let’s take “stuff” for example.

Maybe you rely on retail therapy when stressed and perpetuate the busy-ness by bringing more and more STUFF in to manage, organize, clean and pay for. Food for thought!

We also feel busy because we forget to stay present and conscious. And once again….forget to notice and stay connected to what we care about most.

Hmmm. Notice a theme? This is another one that I think my kiddos could teach me a thing or two – how bout you?!

And so it goes. We feel pushed and pulled. Reactive.Volatile.

We’re Tired. Stressed. Crabby.

And we take it out most on those we love. How sad is this?!

But I’m adding to my toolkit…and yours

So the reality is that we do care.

We love and care about our families and friends and communities.

We care about our work and making a difference.

But if you’re trying to juggle it all and feeling overwhelmed, stressed and frazzled….how much are you able to give back?

That’s why I’m participating in a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program right now ….for me and for you.

MBSR is a life-affirming course in conscious living created by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn through the University of Massachussetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness.

My intention was to bring some of what I learn back to you, my beautiful Spa Time Living clients, readers and tribe …

So what is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening in your life, a way of taking charge of your life, a way of doing something for yourself that no one else can do for you — consciously and systematically working with your own stress, pain, illness, and the challenges and demands of everyday life.

In contrast, you’ve probably encountered moments of “mindlessness” — a loss of awareness resulting in forgetfulness, separation from self, and a sense of living mechanically. Restoring within yourself a balanced sense of health and well being requires increased awareness of all aspects of self, including body and mind, heart and soul. Mindfulness-based stress reduction is intended to ignite this inner capacity and infuse your life with awareness. (UMass Medical School Center for Mindfulness)

My TWO favorite MBSR takeaways this week

1. Non-judging

Okay, back to my opening point: we feel busy. Then we start judging ourselves for not being able to get it all done. Or we blame our circumstances, our spouses, our jobs.

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Shame. Blame. Discontentment. It all stems from comparing and judging. Learning to simply catch these thoughts can help us to just notice…. without judgement. Breath-work. Simple pauses. Slowing down.  Realize that this endless stream of judgement is something we all face, but you can learn to let it go.

Which leads me to my second lesson. 

2. Allowing

So you notice the judgement and let it pass. Celebrate!

What about all the other stressful crummy thoughts? I bet you’re hoping I don’t tell you to just accept them?! Nope. You don’t need to accept them but rather….allow them.

So what the heck’s the difference between accepting and allowing?

We talked through this in class this week. By noticing and allowing the thoughts to pass through, you are staying present.

Because what you resist persists.

My 6 year old woke up cranky every day last week. She specifically told me “I’m cranky,” while stomping her feet and escalating to tantrum status.

I used to tell her to snap out of it. To just choose to be happy.

And I’d end up cranky from fighting her crankies.

So this week, I made a different choice.

I asked her if the crankies needed a hug. She laughed. 

I spoke about how we all have crankies and sometimes they just need to pop in, but that they’ll pass on through if we stop fighting with them.

Phew…let me tell you what a difference this made. Of course that could all change next week!

I shared this with our class and of course, started crying. My tears surprised me, because I thought I’d handled this well. But that doesn’t mean it was easy.

The instructor and all the students sincerely thanked me for my vulnerability. Several other women said they realized how connected they felt to hear that they’re not alone.

I truly believe part of why I’m here – part of my purpose is to be everyone’s conduit for tears and healing. 🙂

I’m good at shedding the tears and sharing the emotions that others struggle to allow.

But…let me get back to class!

We went into a fascinating conversation about how we’re really an adult once and a child twice. In other words, as adults we must continue to process and heal and parent that still small part of us that will always need “parenting” love and support.

For those who don’t know my story…I’ve done a tremendous amount of healing the last few years.

My own mindfulness practice and this most recent course are beautiful additions to my renewal and healing toolkit and will very likely find a place in the Rejuvenation Resource Guide…(which is coming very soon! Yippee!)

Oh and…once again, my two beautiful children are the greatest blessings and teachers I’ll ever know, even (and especially) the days they’re driving me crazy.

Your turn!

Where could non-judgement or allowing help you in your life this week? Leave a comment below…I’d love to hear from you.

Sending light & love,

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6 Responses to Why Mindfulness Matters

  1. thank you so much for interpreting and sharing your experiences from your mindfulness course, shari – very interesting and informative. when i had an in-person wellness studio, i facilitated an ongoing “mindful eating” group. it was such a welcome and effective way to approach weight loss. (and, by the way, i too am good at shedding tears and sharing emotions – i cry easily and often, but i wouldn’t have it any other way!)

    • How beautiful April that you ran the mindful eating group. It’s such an important practice and lesson for all of us, right? 🙂 And glad that you honor and allow your emotions as well! <3 Thx for saying hi. xoxo

  2. My non-judgement and allowing should come into play hugely this week. I am constantly striving for Isvara Pranidhana, which is the surrendering to the universe… that it will all work out the way it should… and this week especially I just need to let go. At work, I made a difficult decision this week and I’m going with the flow and seeing where this decision will lead me 🙂

    Thank you for the reminder… I’ve opened your story in another tab and am eager to learn more about you!
    Jai Ma! <3
    Jenny

  3. Thank you for sharing Jenny. Sending you much love and presence for your week. Wonderful that you are practicing this surrendering…let me know how it goes! <3

  4. Allowing help is a big one for me. I tend to take on the world and am convinced I can do it all. I have to remind myself that I’m not super woman and I don’t HAVE to be.

  5. Shari, I LOVED your hugging the crankies comment and will definitely use it with my 7 year old. It reminded me how far humor can go in a loving relationship. I read in a parenting book once that when dealing with a difficult situation with a child, our job as parents is to “teach, not judge”. Wow…did that statement stay with me. But I often need to be reminded, so thank you for that reminder.

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