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Mindful : June 2018
Sometimes opportunities to act with mindful intention fall into your lap: the politeness jam at the four-way intersection, when everyone wants to let the other guy go first; the earnest admis- sion from someone that moves you to respond in kind. But, let’s face it, barring an emergency, mostly our days and weeks churn by without mindful awareness of any particular moment. The funny thing is, any ol’ Wednesday is packed with choice points to notice the present and to engage. Once you start doing it, you’ll be amazed by how many opportunities there are to connect, to appreciate, and to experience— ever ywhere, all the time. The best part? It’s super easy to do. Just a small, simple action can help you wake up and plug in to the life pulsing all around you. Here are a few ideas to get started. Stop and tune in to the environment around you The next time you’re out walking your dog, tak- ing your lunch break, or checking the mail, just for a minute, stop—and listen. Ceasing physical motion is often just enough to momentarily slow the ever-whirling mind-train, allowing your environment to come alive, like waves rolling toward shore. Wind, birdsong, city noises, con- struction, kids on a school playground: Let the sounds fill the sonic field of your attention. Soon enough your idle mind will come back online. But for those few delicious moments, you get to be a spectator to the whole shebang. Pause before responding in a conversation Being a mindful listener means tuning in to the other person instead of just mentally prepping for your own commentary. But it can be difficult to do, espe- cially if you’re not used to it. Practice this awareness- building technique in your next conversations: Before you respond to what someone has said, pause and check in with yourself. Notice your body position, your energy, any urges in your mind. Take a breath. Now, what might you add to the conversation? Think about someone else’s pain and how you might help When you’re going through a hard time, it can feel all-consuming, and even hurtful, that the rest of the world is just skipping along as always while your reality has been turned upside down. Yet when things are going well, we can be strangely oblivious that someone else might be experiencing the same kind of difficulty we’ve known. Is there someone in your sphere right now who is struggling? Consider what it might be like for this person to go home after work, cope with the holidays, or face some scary or challeng- ing appointment. Is there anything you can do to help? Maybe it’s hands-on support—an offer to drive, to shop, to babysit. Perhaps it’s emotional—a note letting them know you care, a small bouquet from your garden, a call to check in. Could you also hold them in your thoughts, silently wishing for their well-being? By Kelle Walsh • Illustrations by Asia Pietrzyk One Mindful Act Got a minute? That’s enough time to generate meaningful action every day of the week. LIVING | how to