"If you can practice cultivating a sense of completeness - even a glimmer, right now, in this moment, with the little things in life - there is a chance that you would be better able to cope with those aspects of mind that keep telling you that you are not there yet; not yet happy, not yet fulfilled. You might learn that you are complete, whole, just as you are." - pg 240
I love to sing the lyrics of Bruno Mars "you're amazing, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!" at the top of my lungs to my kids. We judge so much of our days - we judge others, and most of all, we judge ourselves. What would it be like to accept and be amazed at the people we are? I imagine my shoulders relaxing and a deep breath coming. I don't have to try so hard and I can enjoy life a little more. Acceptance doesn't mean I don't think and try hard and work for things, it just means I do it without an extra sense of criticism. I recognize with open eyes where I'd like to be and work towards it, falling and picking myself back up along the way.
At the end of the book, the authors encourage you to look at how you can incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine. This doesn't necessarily mean meditating 45 minutes a day. Their suggestions:
1. When you wake up, take five deliberate breaths, check in with yourself mentally, emotionally and physically. Acknowledge and accept what is there with compassion. Spend another moment in silence or doing some gentle stretches and start your day deliberately.
2. Use Breathing Spaces to punctuate your day. (If you forgot, listen here). This allows you to respond with wisdom and compassion to thoughts, feelings and sensations.
3. Maintain your formal Mindfulness practice no matter what that looks like - 5 minutes or 2 hours.
4. Befriend your feelings with open and kindhearted awareness. Welcome all your feelings!
5. When you feel tired, frustrated, anxious, angry or any other powerful emotion, take a Breathing Space.
6. Try to do as many activities as possible during your day as mindfully as possible.
7. Increase your level of exercise.
8. Remember the breath. It is like a good friend. It reminds you that you are OK just as you are.
This is a portion of the poem that end the book. I wish you well. Keep me posted on your progress.
I was hoping no one would notice that I missed the last 3 weeks, that everyone else was just as busy as I have been. And it seemed to have worked for awhile, until my conscious woke me up and reminded me to finish my job. It’s so easy to start things, and to keep them going for a little. It’s the finishing that I am notoriously challenged by. So I have vowed to finish the last two weeks of this book. The next chapter “When Did You Stop Dancing” starts with a wonderful reminder of the ‘exhaustion funnel’.
Does this sound familiar? Your life is so busy and you realize you need to focus on the “important” things. So we narrow our focus to the task at hand, often at the loss of doing things for ourselves. We then still have the work to do, but aren't getting the nourishment we need. Our energy is all getting sucked out
and nothing is coming back in. We end up being spit out at the end of the tunnel, exhausted and drained.
The authors of the book encourage you to make a list of all the things you do in a typical day and classify them as either nourishing or draining. Then become aware of what the balance is and how it leaves you feeling at the end of the day.
The second assignment in the chapter is summarized in this quote “When you feel tired, unhappy, stressed or anxious, waiting until you feel motivated may not be the wisest course of action. You have to put the action first.
When mood is low, motivation follows action, rather than the other way around. When you put the action first, motivation follows” (pg 229)
So this week’s homework (click here for printable sheet):
Use this chart to classify nourishing vs draining activites.
Make a list of things you can do when motivation is low – a list of things you can do to be kind to your body and a list of enjoyable activities you can do.
Practice 2 meditations of your choice from the recordings for a total of 20-30 minutes 6 days this week.
Practice the breathing space exercise 2 times a day.