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What Mindfulness Isn’t

20 May

I watched a video this morning of author and meditation teacher Susan Piver speaking as part of the Mindful Relationship Summit, happening for free online right now for a limited time. Her talk was entitled: A Celebration of Love, Mindfulness, and Passion. If you’re interested in signing up, go to: http://www.mindfulrelationshipsummit.com/?ref=ba4b546cf7

I really appreciated the way she spoke about what mindfulness is, and isn’t:

Mindfulness is not a synonym to calm. Mindfulness means being with what is. And sometimes what is is calm, and sometimes what is is terrifying. Mindfulness is not about converting everything into an equal tone, it’s about going in fearlessly into what you do experience, with your eyes, mind, and heart open – without knowing what you’re going to find.

This morning, I wrote this on my writer’s facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/InMindfulMotion/)

Today’s unexpected gratitude (and it’s only 8:30am!):

Around 1:00am this morning, our smoke/carbon monoxide detector began to chirp its low battery alert. At first, it sounded only sporadically, allowing us, eventually, to ignore it and fall back asleep. (You see, this particular alarm is both hard-wired into our electrical system and operates on a 9-volt battery, so the only thing to silence it would be to change its battery, of which we did not have replacement for.)

I woke up to my alarm at 5:00am only to discover that the low battery chirping had amped itself up to sounding once PER MINUTE. Yeah. Not great.

After taking a shower, through which I could still hear the incessant chirping (that’s how loud it was), I called Rosauer’s Grocery Store, to find out what their hours were, and was over- joyed to discover that they open every day at 5:00am. With wet hair and pajamas I immediately fled the house and headed there.

I was the sole customer in the store and wondered if the cashier who checked me out was at all curious why I was there at 5:20am buying only a 9-volt battery (a pack of two, actually, so that we now have a backup).

Thank you Rosauer’s, for opening your doors at the crack of dawn and for carrying 9-volt batteries!

P.S. I know it makes total sense but FYI: 5:30am is a super chill time to go grocery shopping.

To me, this experience ties in nicely with what Susan mentioned about mindfulness not being a state of constant calm but the art of being with what is. It does not make me a “bad practitioner” to have had that chirping sound annoy the crap out of me after I woke up this morning. In that moment, my practice was to realize that sound was not sustainable for me to put up with, and to figure out a solution as to what to do about it. Mindfulness isn’t about having to grin and bear things in order to keep up appearances, it’s about how we engage and interface with what happens. Mindfulness is a way of living. It’s a way of learning how to stay in touch with our own experiences as they unfold, and then practicing to act from a place of intention and conscious participation.

In Susan’s talk, she also referred to mindfulness as a form of courage, which I had never really considered before. I appreciated hearing this new angle and really enjoyed her talk. One of my favorite parts of her talk was when she shared the following:

Every time you notice and let go and come back (regarding the process of having thoughts during meditation and then returning to your breath), it’s like flexing that muscle that enables you to return your attention to the present moment. So we practice doing that with the breath in meditation not so that we can be awesome breath followers, but so that we can place our attention on our life, which takes courage, because we need to let go of our judgements, hopes, and fears, and that’s what meditation and mindfulness teach us to do.

Today: Get Ur Mindfulness On.

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