Mindfulness can take on an abundance of forms other than the stereotypical “sit cross-legged in complete silence” image that many of us have. When we are mindful, we are more deeply aware of the present moment. We can practice this in many of our favorite, everyday activities. Throughout the rest of the semester, we will be providing a variety of ways that you can creatively practice mindfulness.
Gratitude Toward Fellow Humans
We are quite lucky that we find ourselves in communities of people that care for us. This week, we will focus on giving thanks to those who have supported us throughout the last few weeks.
Pause for 5-10 minutes today to think about who you are grateful for. Have you been able to spend more time with a parent or sibling? Are there any friends who have been reaching out regularly? Professors who have gone above and beyond in caring for you? It might surprise you to find how nice it feels to think of all those that care for you!
To go a step further, go out of your way this week to let these people know that you appreciate them. A text or phone call of appreciation can truly make a person’s day, and allows you to fully bask in how much you care for this person.
How can we fully appreciate our mealtimes?
First, try to eliminate any distractions from the food. Phones, laptops, and books should be set aside to focus on our enjoyment of the current meal.
Second, engage all of the senses while eating. What aromas does the food have? What kind of texture? Can you notice any flavors that you have missed in the past? Try to take small bites and chew slowly to get a deeper sense of the taste.
Once finished with the meal, give thanks what you have eaten, and return to the rest of your day feeling recharged!
During quarantine, it is easy to feel trapped in our houses/apartments. While we should feel gratitude for these dwellings, a departure sometimes becomes necessary. Today, head out for a walk, and try out the following walking exercise:
First, tune into your body. How does each step feel on the soles of your feet? How long is each stride? How do your arms sway? How does your posture feel? How does the body feel as a whole? Tense, relaxed?
Next, focus on your surroundings. How does the sky look today? Are there any plants around, a peculiar tree that has gone unnoticed in the past? Are there other people out and about? Interesting houses? We don't want to dwell on these surroundings, but merely acknowledge them.
Continue walking, being aware of the self, the walk, and the surrounding Earth. Headspace is a fantastic resource for a walking meditation if you'd like to go deeper on your next walk!
Queue up any song that you love. Play the song, and as it plays, try to notice five different aspects of the song that you have never noticed before. Perhaps there is a new instrument in the background, or a subtle beat that had gone unnoticed. The discoveries can be quite surprising, especially for a song you have listened to a hundred times before!
Needs some inspiration? Check out our curated collection of Spotify playlists to lift your spirit here.
Fasting is removing obstacles in our path so that we are able to move faster towards something…hopefully something healthy for us…
Fasting is not just about ceasing from eating. Fasting is abstaining from anything that hinders us from reaching towards a life-giving goal or vision.
Historically, most religions view fasting as the sacrifice of abstaining from eating for a given period of time so that we may focus all of our attention on God, but we might also abstain from video games, binge-watching Netflix, over working, over shopping, or overusing our smart phones.
Yes, fasting is about identifying those things in our lives that we are addicted to…anything that demands our time and attention…any activity that seems necessary for us to get through the day…and stopping it.
Maybe we are addicted to checking our phones every 30 seconds. Maybe we are addicted to television. Maybe we are addicted to work. Whatever we are “thoughtlessly” addicted to, fasting from that addiction is helping us to practice to be “thoughtful” about how we spend our time and energy. It re-focuses our attention to bring harmful activities into view so that we might be able to remove them from our journey towards wholeness and healing…and, ultimately, towards God.
What is hindering you from healing and wholeness today?