Mindfulness. Last year I told one of my friends that I’d found a way to slow down time. I found a way to do things in slow motion that made time last longer. I was stoked. EXCITED!
I couldn’t really explain it – I only saw that I was doing it and I knew that it could be done. It entailed complete focus and awareness. If I were to simplify it, I would say that I was moving with the rhythm of the universe. Have you ever heard the saying, “Grass does not strain to grow.”? If you are feeling rushed, things are falling out of your hands or you keep having to turn back for something you forgot, just stop. These are signs that you are not in alignment and that you should slow down. The energy of rushing and hastiness will not yield better results. They actually tip your vibration in the direction of unwanted and chaotic.
Lately, when this happens, and I catch myself (key words: and I catch myself) I just stop.
I stop and I breathe or I intentionally move slower. Anyone close enough to me knows that I love ease and flow and flow and ease – in every way. I may not always practice it and sure, there are days I’m not in alignment with the things I believe. But, I know what it feels like to be in alignment and when I’m there, it’s pure bliss.
At any rate, I couldn’t make much sense of this new found ability. I only somehow became aware of it, as if I were an avatar redirecting energy.
Oh, but actually I am.
After listening to one of Eckhart Tolle’s YouTube videos where he explained what mindfulness is, it occurred to me that “slowing down time” was very similar to what he saying. It was all tied to awareness, being fully present, mindfulness etc. I wanted to make a deliberate attempt to fully immerse myself in a moment. Tolle described what it would be like to put all your focus into any and everything you do – from making tea, to walking, to cleaning etc. These are the tiny moments that we often take for granted – and yet they provide the most magical everyday paths to practice awareness, or mindfulness.
We tend to fixate our attention on the past or the future and we forget “The Now”.
“The Now”, where all the power lies – the only space we really have control. Yesterday is gone, even two minutes ago is gone and tomorrow is often filled with thoughts and worries that may likely never occur. Deep down, I know this.
God Bless the days I practice what I know to be true haha.
Imagine, if you will, the following scenario in slow motion. Take one deep, slow breath and bring all your awareness to the next couple paragraphs. Relive this time and space with me.
I reach up and open the dark wooden cupboard door. It makes a slight screeching sound and the movement generates a tiny wind that brushes pass my face and makes a few of my curly locks dance ever so gently. My eyes find my favorite coffee cup on the shelf. It’s white and shaped like a teapot with blue print designs on it. The designs remind me of china my mom used to cherish. I take the cup off the shelf and set it on the cold granite counter top. It makes a tiny clink, like when two wine glasses lightly tap each other to celebrate. There’s a brief moment of hearing “Cheers”. It’s fleeting but I hear it. My hand automatically closes the cupboard door but my eyes are on the prize – coffee.
The house is completely silent. I am fully aware of the sounds around me, where my eyes are, what my focus is and then it all fades to total connection with my breath. It flows in and out of my body – my life force. Without her, I couldn’t be here. She is all I am, the core of me – outside of any labels, possessions, wants, desires, discontent or pleasure.
My breath – in, out. In, out – filling my chest, my lungs and my tummy, expanding my vessel … then releasing. And, repeat.
My only focus in this moment IS this moment.
I grab my tablespoon and dip it in the plastic container, scooping a heaping spoonful of instant coffee. The sound of the spoon reaching into the coffee grounds is very audible to me. It goes in and crystal like coffee powder piles up on top of each other and just as the spoon is about to emerge, tiny bits fall back down. I steadily lift the spoon out and the other clink comes when the tablespoon touches the cup and again I hear the sliding of the coffee grounds as they make their way into this tiny empty space.
My awareness shifts to the boiling water. The bubbling sound is letting me know it’s almost ready and the steam is beautifully escaping the electric white kettle, gracefully floating upwards.
I hear the click from the kettle – the water is boiled. 100 degrees celsius. I make a few steps to my left and release the kettle from its base, pouring the boiling water into the cup. Hot water and steam engulf the space and the coffee crystals swirl around like dancers around a bonfire. I pour my creamer into mix and start to stir my morning joe. The spoon edges against the inner parameters of the cup and then at the rim. I lift it out and tap it a couple times on the edge. Clink clink again. Cheers!
Inhale. Exhale. Coffee.
My mind is fully concentrated on just this moment. Again, I become fully aware of my breath… inhale, exhale – coffee.
This is mindfulness. It is complete immersion into any given moment. It’s filled with awareness and silence and it is pure magic.
If I were to hone in on what my first interaction with mindfulness was, it would be almost a decade ago when I was riding my bike as a part of my usual work out routine. I became fully aware of my hair blowing in the wind. Only then, I didn’t know what it was nor did I have a label for it. It was just a moment that I loved and I started to become more and more aware of moments like it. All those moments eventually lead me to believing that I could slow down time but all I was practicing was mindfulness – being fully present.
Silence has become one of my best friends, especially in recent months. Often times, I find it’s the only way to balance myself when things feel like they are out of control. A couple years ago, I did a weekend job that left me so exhausted that I couldn’t talk for two days. My energy was drawn in ways I never knew was possible. I ended up tuning in to someone else’s life in a way that shook her and the people around me. Even I didn’t understand what was happening.
It was like I went directly into her energy field, picked up pieces of her life and shared them with her verbally. She leaned on me physically and emotionally and when I left that space, I was drained.
Silence came naturally after that weekend and was the only way to recovery. It centered me and allowed me to pull my energies back to my core. Practicing yoga and being drawn to inversions, I learned that headstands were another way for me to stop time.
Headstands and Mindfulness
People have often asked me why I love doing headstands. The main reason I love doing headstands is because in that moment, nothing else matters but! My focus is my body and my balance. My mind is completely engaged in controlling my stance. There is no room for anything else but that moment. It is one of THE BEST ways for me to become fully present and be in The Power of Now.
As I become more aware of my energy, where it goes and when it’s being overstimulated, I find that I can more readily reel it back to myself. Reeling it back almost always begins with mindfulness which always includes silence and awareness. We often pride ourselves on being able to multitask and I suppose in many aspects, it is indeed a gift.
My personal experience though, is that the more you do one thing at a time with full focus on that one thing, the better it will be for you, the action you’re taking and the result it will bring. You will also find yourself feeling better about each thing you are doing. As I was completing this yesterday, I saw this post by Dandapani and had to steal it. One thing at a time. Slowly, and with your full attention equals bliss… resonates with mindfulness, full presence and breath.
Meditation teaches focus. Applying focus creates mindfulness. Mindfulness introduces sacredness.
Everything is Relative
For many people, the only way to truly practice sacredness is to include church, prayer or meditation.
But, everything is relative. Attending church may be one way to connect to God but an even more amazing way is to do it when making a cup of coffee. This would mean that the connection to God is being integrated in the simplest to the grandest moments as you live your life. Practicing mindfulness is a sure path to having more sacred moments everyday.
Awareness while making my coffee that morning was not just about slowing down time, it was about being completely immersed in the now, fully aware and connected to my breath. It was the observer inside me – where there is no label, no need, no want – just existence, pure energy.
Any time that I am fully aware of my being, my breath and my actions is a moment I am practicing awareness. In those moments, I am not consumed by my ego, my doings, my worries, my woes – I simply Am.
I Am, two of the most powerful words we could possibly utter and the more that mindfulness is practiced, the more I Am moments there are to be had. Try it… When you find yourself noticing your breath above all else, it will hit you and hopefully you’ll smile and recognize it as mindfulness and these words may make more sense to you.
“I Am that I Am!”