Mindfulness. I bet you’ve heard the term alot lately. It’s been around since the 70s, but it sort of knocked me over the head a few months ago. I googled. I read. I couldn’t wrap myself around it, so I signed up for a class at Lehigh Valley Health Network. For eight weeks, about 20 of us came together weekly to learn more about it.
There are several pieces to the practice. We practiced lying and seated meditations, some physical movement options, meditative walking, several yoga poses, even mindful eating! People all over the world do it. This is just the beginning here in our country.
Being a goal-oriented person who perches somewhere between analytical and skeptical, I found this practice to be both challenging and rewarding. Having many questions that didn’t seem to have answers, I plodded along from week to week. Not understanding how it could work or how it might improve my life, I am sure I rolled my eyes a time or two. It all seemed kinda “out there.” I’m still not sure how it changed me. But I’m certain it did. Honestly, I didn’t even realize I needed changing. I thought I “had the tiger by the tail” and that multi-tasking was the way to roll. With a loaded schedule and lots of completed checkmarks on my “to do” list, I was convinced I was totally on top of my game.
So what changed since I “graduated” from this journey of self awareness?
- I’m more compassionate to myself and others
- I listen more completely
- I try not to make judgements, but allow for acceptance and understanding
- I adore silence
- I enjoy my walks because of what I see and hear, not just the tally on the pedometer
- Colors are brighter, sounds are sweeter, birds seem to sing “just for me”
- I understand how doing one thing at a time can make the experience richer
- I don’t scold myself for “eating wrong," missing a workout, or failing to unload the dishwasher immediately
It’s pretty simple stuff. Catching a butterfly seems easy, too, until you try to do it. But one thing for sure, it was worth the eight weeks of learning about the practice and myself. I’m not even sure when the changes happened, but they did. I saw similar transformations in my classmates, too. Faces softened, smiles were universal, and a feeling of peaceful kindness emerged.
We never know it all. Be open. See what else there is to learn!
Want more information about the local classes? http://www.lvhn.org/mindfulness