Lisa Love, MS, RN has been a mindfulness-junkie before it was a thing, which probably means she was a mindbody nerd before that was even a thing. http://www.mindfulguidance4me.com
We are so used to thinking our way through life – heck there are a gazillion decisions we need to make every day! How does the brain keep up? No wonder we turn to mind-numbing activities to take a break from the incessant thoughts. We watch television, movies, we play video games, use substances, etc. But none of these activities really induce a state of rest or true relaxation, unless you are following along with a meditation or visualisation recording.
Fortunately, there is a non-toxic, non-addictive way to help your mind settle and get a break from thinking. But we don’t practice in order to control the mind – oh no! That’s not possible right off the bat. Your mind is used to running the show, so you need to involve it in something that absorbs its attention fully. Otherwise, it’ll sneak off when you’re not paying attention and start planning your next series of tasks.
When you develop the capacity to pay attention to only one thing, in the present moment, you will enjoy a much-needed break from over-thinking. So start now, and go slow. No need to stress about relieving stress, after all.
When I first started to meditate, at 14, it was by breathing in, focusing on the word One, breathing out, One, and repeat. You could choose any word you wish – Love, Be, Now, Soft, etc. Before I knew it, fifteen minutes had flown by and I thought it was only five. However, the good news for those adverse to the idea of sitting and doing nothing, is you needn’t meditate to practice mindfulness.
Simply by immersing your awareness in any of your senses – touch, taste, hearing, smelling, proprioception (where your body is located in space), or seeing - constitutes mindfulness practice. This will anchor your focus on something other than your perpetual tickertape to-do list running through your brain.
Try this – put on some unfamiliar music – I prefer East Indian Ragas – and just breathe, feeling into the sounds and rhythms. Begin to slowly move your hands and arms, letting them explore the space around you in response to the feelings evoked. Allow the rest of your body to participate – sometimes just a part of your body, wherever you most feel moved to move – and then allow all of your body to participate. Let it flow and unfold.
You needn’t even call it dance. So those of you who feel a moment of terror, not knowing how to move next, just let that go. You are moving to music just for your own experience and hopefully, enjoyment. It’s NOT a performance, so don’t put any pressure on yourself and don’t worry about posting it on social media. This practice gives you an experience of Beginner’s Mind – not knowing what’s next, or even why you are doing what you are doing. It’s utterly refreshing, renewing and requires no thinking.
Whenever you feel your mind getting ahead and planning your next move or evaluating your past moves, just pause, stop, breathe, listen and start again, simply, slowly, until you are in a movement-based conversation with the music.
Do this for 10-15 minutes. Then notice how you feel when you stop. If you feel so moved, post a comment to share and possibly inspire others. Feel free to ask a question as well.
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