Springtime, Passover, Easter.
Are they a time for remembrance, renewal, and hope? Do you ramp up your optimism strength and focus on renewal? I think of GRACE. Of family times and ham and scalloped potatoes. But I need to let go of a memory. When I was 5, the Eater Bunny left me a darling live dyed hot pink chick. Wow! I was ecstatic. It took me days to quit punishing myself after I inadvertently stepped on him. Gulp. Bye Bye Birdie. To this day, I feel badly about that. My mindful self tells me to let that inner critic memory sail away like a helium balloon. Memory, begone!
Sean, now 33, emailed me at Easter and said he fondly remembers coloring eggs. He thought it was magic. He also remembers our dog, Stash, a Benjy look-alike, getting into his hidden Easter basket and scarfing up enough chocolate to send him to death’s door. Stash had a rock gut, our vet said. Gratitude lights up my memory here, as he was one terrific pup.
Want to be more grateful? Use MINDFULNESS.
What is it? According to Sheldon, author of Positively Mindful, “Mindfulness is the mental mode of being engaged in the present moment without evaluating or emotionally reacting to it.” Good news is, it strengthens the body’s ability to pay attention. It helps you appreciate all the nuances of life.
Want more? Mindfulness jacks up your immune system and may even add healthy years to your life. It is surprisingly playfulness. I still remember when Ken and I went to see the Dalai Lama speak. He as a terrific speaker. Calm, yes, but funny as all get out. “Do not drink! Well…only a little if you have something really good to celebrate!”
Meditation is a gift you commit to give to yourself.
It takes practice, but so does any new habit you develop to enrich your life.
Perhaps you have heard of mindful meditation. Do those words scare you? Or are you an adventurous explorer who loves the idea of a new way to travel? Mindfulness blesses your life with more relaxation, peace, and calm. If you Google “loving kindness meditations”, my favorite, you will find a myriad of easy-to-do breathing exercises, prose and poems with upbeat “intentions” that help you on your journey to joyfulness.
You can also go to positive psychology researcher Barbara Fredrickson’s website. Read her new book Love 2.0 to see how love and mindfulness are connected. She has many other great resources. Food for your soul.
I did a fun thing the other day.
Most of you now I work from Puerto Vallarta in winter. A pure joy, yes, indeed. My frozen shoulder was acting up again, so I decided to go give it a workout in the pool. As I was ready to get out of the welcoming warm water, I realized I didn’t want to leave. An idea bubbled up, “Why not do a water meditation?” No, I had never heard of it, but what the heck. I let my creativity strength loose to play.
I laid on a step, closed my eyes and focused only on my breathing. I swear I felt I was in a state of total calm rapture. An awesome oxymoron! No one was in the pool but me. I heard the rustling of the jungle palm trees, birds chirping, and the drone of cars way down below. I let my thought about these all pass by. I felt my body at peace. Floating to Nirvana! It was the doors to all my senses were flung wide open, and I was one with the world. Even thinking about it now brings me blissful peace.
I am reading a great book by Williams and Penman, “Mindfulness ~ An Eight-week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World.” Who me…Frantic? Well, there are days, and I bet you have them, too. I am taking scads of notes and will report back to you soon.
How will you spring into your own mindfulness?
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Thank you all for making my book, Photo Adventures in Cuba a continued Amazon bestseller!