There is a theory that the entire universe is a product of our own minds, and that each one of us ultimately builds the world a little bit with every thought we have, every interaction we engage in. Have you ever had a day where you step outside and the weather seems to reflect the very mood of your heart? You’re heading towards an important meeting, but you don’t feel prepared and you didn’t sleep all night. On your drive over, dark and heavy clouds are linking together like a thick veil above you, making the entire world seem tired and conflicted. You might even see the sky as monochromatic—as if the one big concern in your head seems to permeate the purpose of the entire world, the entire atmosphere sharing in on your unpleasant expectations.
Likewise, you could see the plain gray sky as a sign of certainty. You’ve got this one goal, and the entire world is behind your back. There’s nothing else to focus on beyond what’s right in front of you, just like the sky behind the clouds would have just been a distraction in your day. Be you. Rock what you’re doing. As soon as you finish that meeting and step out, your struggles will part. You can rest, you can relax. The rains will fall and clean away all sense of dread you’ve been carrying around your shoulders.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a term that’s caught a lot of steam recently, and with good reason. The concept stems from a mixture of spiritual Buddhist practices and proven therapeutic techniques. As UC-Berkeley explains on their own blog, “thousands of studies have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness in general and MBSR in particular,”
So take a minute, or five, or ten, or however long you need, and simply use the opportunity to reflect upon your own state of being. Not focusing solely on spirit and mind, as in meditation, nor on a particular task or goal.
In mindfulness, you focus on understanding the way you operate. The way your body works. Feel your breathing. Think about your own thought processes. Have you been anxious lately? Are your shoulders tense? Are you feeling confident and certain of yourself right now? Focus on the present, and nothing else. Make sure you’re operating at your best right now.
At New Directions for Women, we introduce mindfulness to our women in care, as well as to our staff, asking that they take a moment when they can to reconfigure themselves through mindfulness. Through this, we hope to help them relieve any unneeded tensions, to take the time to restructure themselves and be aware of their own state. As Psychology Today says, “Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”
Take the time each day to understand yourself through mindfulness training. After all, you have the power to change the world, whether it’s giving the world a sunny sky or simply bringing your absolute best to that 2 O’clock meeting.