February 25, 2017

In Pursuit of Mindfulness

While I type on the computer right now, each click under my fingers harmonizes with the staccato of the raindrops hitting the window.  It makes me stop and pay attention to the rain. There is artistry in water falling from the sky. I have always considered rain to be a healer, like music. I notice how my breath is pattering softly with every "musical note" that the innocent droplets are extracting from the air. It is a duet. It is a conversation between myself and the universe. It is a connection. The quiet of being one with the rain makes me sing. Deep inside of me. The moment seems like an instant from a piano concert. The joy of listening to the rain, of revelling in the winter light, of looking at the white tulips, of sipping hot coffee, of relishing in the safety of the dailiness is tap dancing in my heart. I am here appreciating the world around me. My awareness erases the worrisome thoughts and stillness pours through my reality.  
At this moment, I understand: just like that, the beauty of the present moment is unfolding in front of my eyes and all my senses are detecting what is going on inside and outside myself. This powerful energy of mindfulness makes me fully alive, fully present to touch the good, the bad, the ugly, the boring, the unpleasant, the habitual, the beautiful, the blissful for my nourishment and my healing. I do not want to live a happy life. I want to live a mindful life. Because mindfulness gives birth to happiness. In fact, happiness is not found in external things at all, but it is a power we hold within ourselves. And if I have to choose a theme word for 2017 (which I barely do), MINDFULNESS it is.
So how do I do mindfulness? How to become skillful with my awareness in present time? How to stay HERE and now so I encounter life in the most truthful way?
Thich Nhat Hanh, the master of mindfulness, whose books I've read several times, makes it sound simple and possible. "The practice of mindfulness", he says, "requires only that whatever you do, you do with your whole being." "When you pour tea", he continues, "the act of pouring the tea into the cup can become an act of meditation if you pour with mindfulness. Don't think about the past. Don't think about the future. Don't think about what you're going to do next. Focus entirely on the act of pouring the tea. Everyone knows how to pour tea, everyone knows how to drink tea,  but not everyone pours tea mindfully and drinks tea mindfully... When you hold the hand of a child, or when you walk, or when you hug your partner, invest one hundred percent of yourself in the act of hugging." Always go home to your body. Your true home is in the here and the now.

Being fully in each moment and connecting to peace in the midst of chaos and uncertainty is harder than it sounds, especially in a world which constantly demands your time and attention. I have been trying to practice mindfulness for years, but I am human. Some days, some months, some years are better than others. This year, I am promising myself to invest more in training my attention as I begin simply to:

CARE MORE ABOUT                                               CARE LESS ABOUT 

my breath                                                                                           my thoughts
my body                                                                                              my jeans
  my smile                                                                                             my wrinkles
     listening                                                                                              talking 
    concentration                                                                                    interruption
kindness                                                                                      shallow judgements
giving                                                                                                  taking
the lessons                                                                                         the failures
books                                                                                             news on FB feed 
letting go                                                                                           attachments 
other people's story                                                                       know-it-all expert
making art                                                                                       conflicts
exploring                                                                                         traveling
experiences                                                                               material possessions
my spiritual growth                                                                        changing others 
confronting my fears                                                                      my comfort zone 
the glass half full                                                                       the glass full empty
speaking my truth                                                                            consequences
critical thinking                                                                          conformism 
good enough                                                                                        perfection 
Jazz                                                                                                    rules 
trying my best                                                                                    multitasking
the dance                                                                                           the how 
my photography                                                                                 comparison  
        the rain                                                                                           getting wet        
nature and its silence                                                                     my smart phone 
people                                                                                                 objects 
being                                                                                                  doing

Have you been practising mindfulness? Share with me how? Let's breathe, smile and be aware of the present moment, with purpose and without judgment, shall we?


  1. It's where I'm the happiest. I am so happy that I grew up as an only child because it forced me to be creative, to be more pensive, to observe. I remember my family thinking there was something wrong with me as they contemplated taking me to a specialist because I hardly spoke. But they discovered that I had much to say, but I observed MORE than I spoke. Over the years, I've become more vocal, but one of my favorite places to be is in the silence, with only the rhythm of words or the song of God's birds in my environment. Sylvia, more than ever do we all need to learn these wonderful things you are sharing today. Too many falsehoods are being passed off as truths, and it's making people more anxious than they should be. There is also this new way of being "liked", "belonging" and "successful" through social media that is a huge trap. I admit, I've been caught in this trap a few times, leaving wounded. But the spirit of God in me and in those who love me remind me that this is not the truth. Flesh and blood reality cannot be measured for its worth by silicon methods. Artificial intelligence is just that. The temporal, the flesh, the scent of a flower, the song of the wind, all passing, are what's real. Our thoughts, our goals and most of all, our LOVE are embedded in a reality that is eternal. Let's celebrate it.

    By the way, your photos have been my inspiration for so long, and the secret of them is this: emotion. You capture it well, and that is what I hope to do in my work. Much love to you, Anita

  2. I really enjoyed and 'absorbed' your words and thoughts on mindfulness. I have told myself over and over to live in the moment but I don't think I truly understood how. I think I have a better grasp of it after reading your post and I will definitely put your thoughts to use. I am scattered and always multi-tasking. I hold myself up to standards of not only others, but set by myself which are really overwhelming. I touched (not as eloquently as you) in my post today.

    Your list of 'cares' could read the same for most of us. Doubt plagues us and beats us down. We need to turn it around to be healthy inside and out.

    Jane x


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