A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".
Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.
Monday Mantra: Be mindful of your words, your actions, your thoughts
Sometimes I get stuck on a thought, a moment, a memory that just keeps playing itself over and over again. Sometimes it's important, like wishing I had said or done something the opposite of what I did. Sometimes it's not, like when I debate over what the How I Met Your Mother preview of Robin and Barney getting married might mean. Regardless, what it always ends up being is a waste of time...a waste of thought processes replaying the moment, the event, the thing that I can't let go of in my head.
There are other times, when my mind isn't looping, when I'm not in the present moment with the people I'm with. I'm somewhere else- at work, going over my to-do list, planning out my next trip. Those are also wasted moments. Times when I'm letting myself disconnect from the people right in front of me.
I try to keep myself in check and be mindful of the things I say, do, think, but I'm only human. I mess up a lot. I forget. I get tired and busy and I let the Mindless Thieves in the front door of my home to steal away my happiness.
While I don't necessarily believe in resolutions of the year long variety, I do believe in goals. So the personal goal I've set for myself right now is to not let these thieves in during my holiday season. I will be present. I will pay attention. I will focus on the right things and I will not let them make a home in my mind. I will be mindful of myself.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founder of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society. He created the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course, which teaches attendees how to deal with pretty much every situation in life with meditation, yoga, and awareness in the moment. He is credited as being the one who brought meditation into the mainstream medical practice as a way to heal one's self. He is, in my mind, this generations master of mindfulness.
Being mindful helps you to understand why you say the things you say, do the things you do, feel the way you feel. It's the answer to almost everything because it requires so much acuteness to the moment you're in. It requires you to be present. To be here- right now. It helps you to understand that your thoughts are just thoughts, no action required on them. That they do not make you who you are, that they do not rule you. Mindfulness teaches you to pick and choose what you're focusing on and why. It makes the smallest, most insignificant things in life, like driving a car or eating a grape, the most amazing acts you've ever done. You see things in a new light. You see everything as a miracle.
This season, when you're running around finishing your Christmas shopping, trying to get everything done in two weeks that you meant to accomplish in the whole year, take some time to stop and focus. Take time to pay attention to the loved ones around you. To the real reason of this season. To the things that really matter.
Breathe. Focus. Relax.
For more info on Mr. Kabat-Zinn, and to see some of his great works, click here.
When life is stressing you out, what do you do to center yourself? To stop the world from spinning?
Monday Mantra: Paradise Within
Monday Mantra: Live Like No One Else
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