Motivation Mondays: MINDFULNESS
“Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.” Thich Nhat Hanh
Breathe in deeply to bring your mind home to your body. Then look at, or think of, the person triggering this emotion: With mindfulness, you can see that she is unhappy, that she is suffering. You can see her wrong perceptions. You can see that she is not beautiful when she says things that are unkind. Thich Nhat Hanh
What does mindfulness mean to you? A few years ago, Oprah interviewed Thich Nhat Hanh, a well known and beloved Buddhist monk, teacher, Zen Master, poet, writer, and peace activist from Vietnam. The interview was deeply reflective and he made many points that resonated with me. He spoke about seeing the beauty of the present moment (Being Present) and how a spirit of mindfulness helps us develop not only compassion for each other but, also helps us surrender our suffering … it helps us learn to let go. We all have baggage that we tote around with us. Some of us carry little pouches of grudges, while others haul around huge portmanteaus filled with old wounds and churlish plans. When we take time to reflect on what is festering inside, we might be surprised to find that much of it is petty and probably founded on childhood hurts. What do you gain from holding on to a grudge? You have nothing to prove so let it go… move on with your life.
Who is holding you back? Another pithy point that Thich Nhat Hanh, shared was that: “You have to learn how to help a wounded child while still practicing mindful breathing.” There are many wounded children parading as adults who feel a desperate need to be controlling and do battle with others over nonsense. Their actions are often based on fear and insecurity and a need to prove something by acting tough. But it’s all an act to hide the suffering and the pain. He said that our suffering is the result of fear, anger, frustration, despair, and the anxiety that overcomes us when things seem unclear. If we stop, breathe deeply, and shift our attention to the here and now, that subtle shift will help us adjust and release our fears.
Hey, wake up! The only competitor worth facing is YOU! The road to mindfulness and understanding of others begins with the work we do with ourselves. If we wish to see the world with new eyes and refresh our lives in a new way, we need to practice mindfulness which includes compassion, contemplation and observation.
“It takes a little bit of mindfulness and a little bit of attention to others to be a good listener, which helps cultivate emotional nurturing and engagement.” Deepak Chopra
When you have children, you realize how easy it is to not see them fully, and perhaps miss all those early years. If you are not careful, you can be too absorbed in work, and they will be only too happy to tell you about it later. Being a parent is one of greatest mindfulness practices of all. Jon Kabat-Zinn
What motivates you to listen? Our children are some of our best teachers because they remind us to listen, to own our stuff, and to find that love within even under trying circumstances. Like little birds, they arrive helpless and dependent and, slowly, they learn skills that help them fly the coop later on in life. Our time with them is valuable and we must be attentive to how we listen and express our love. They give to us and take from us, and the reciprocity keeps the love flowing in a harmonious and unbroken cycle. When we withhold our affection from others, the greater loss is ours because our bodies constrict and a blockage forms inside our being like an invisible knot. The memory stays in our bodies and we feel this great need to hold unto it, to control things, and to undermine any perceived competition. We gain nothing from selfish actions only more insecurity masked by acts of false boldness.
A Story: Be Birdlike and Free. I remember once, while taking photos of birds, that one little bird watched me for a while. I’ll call it the smart, introspective bird. It watched me throw bread to the gathered seagulls and decided that the best way to get full and quick access to the bread was to act differently. Instead of clawing and controlling the chain of access to the bread, the little bird decided to rise above the fray. It flew on top of my car. The bird became friendly and solicitous and caught my attention. For its effort, the bird got several easy servings and, I in return, got some lovely up-close shots. It’s called RECIPROCITY! Others tried to copy and do same, but the friendly and now bold bird had my attention and he was able to fend them off; he was a diligent and friendly bird indeed. He understood that being friendly to the bread giver and diplomatic with others helped him when more aggressive birds showed up. He didn’t need to compete with them, he found a better way to get attention and food.
Meanwhile, the other birds settled on other cars, without quite the same reach, and battled each other for dominance over the bread I threw to them. Some people have a misguided notion that the way to the top is by standing on other people’s heads and clawing to control outcomes. It might feel good for a while but they will fall off. The way to the top is by standing shoulder to shoulder with others and building alliances not alienating people because you think they would/could/might overthrow you. Like life; it is all in the give and take, the giving and receiving, the out-of-the-box exploring of options. We must learn to be as open to giving/sharing as we are to receiving .
“You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.” William Blake
Mindfulness has helped me succeed in almost every dimension of my life. By stopping regularly to look inward and become aware of my mental state, I stay connected to the source of my actions and thoughts and can guide them with considerably more intention. Dustin Moskovitz
What will you be willing to give up for peace of mind and contentment? In 1995, Jon Kabat-Zinn wrote a book titled “Wherever You Go, There You Are” which outlined the Buddhist path of mindfulness; a way of living in the moment without judgment. With a mindful approach to living, we don’t second guess our actions or blame others for our mistakes because we act with consideration and care and extend same to others. I look around me everyday and hear people talking about their personal expectations and frustrations and what they would do with more; the lottery, the bank gift, the big job or the magical gift. What is surprising is that we don’t say a lot about what we will do with less or how much we will give up. What we tend to forget is that the me more, me more, me more mantra is like an addictive drug. The more we get, the more control we want and the more … you know the rest.
On reflection, what never fails to resonate is the fact that we carry our baggage and blessings with us everywhere we go and, unless we are mindful, not much changes even after the big win. Not unless we change. Since when did moving to a new neighborhood or buying a new car change our basic character? Will controlling the bank bring you unequivocal satisfaction? Maybe for a little while, then Phffit! This isn’t surprising information, yet some people expect it. Why? What does it take to have a full life? I know it is not stuff: more toys, more trinkets, or even more money. Mindfulness, contentment and peace with what we already have, acceptance of where we are right now, care towards others, and minding our own store will give us satisfaction. But, we have to believe in those precepts or do the inner work that is required to help us change what we value.
The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for April and May are:
04/06 – PERFECTION
04/13 – MISTAKES
04/20 – GROWTH
04/27 – MINDFULNESS
05/03 – APPRECIATION
05/13 – COMFORT
05/20 – FITNESS
05/27 – SERVICE
“Writing can be an incredible mindfulness practice.”Jon Kabat-Zinn
In Asian languages, the word for ‘mind’ and the word for ‘heart’ are same. So if you’re not hearing mindfulness in some deep way as heartfulness, you’re not really understanding it. Compassion and kindness towards oneself are intrinsically woven into it. You could think of mindfulness as wise and affectionate attention. Jon Kabat-Zinn
Why are we not always mindful? I once observed an incident in which a person selfishly held back giving an opportunity to another friend. It was a classic dog in the manger event; unfortunately, the person felt by not giving, they had much more. We can all wonder loudly about what people gain from selfishness and explore the magic of giving and how it benefits both the giver and the receiver, but where are we falling short? When we develop the habit of giving freely; performing random acts of kindness, we trigger a chain reaction of giving that comes back to us like a boomerang. The like for like mentality works for a little while and then it feels like handcuffs. When we like freely, we feel the inner expansion and experience the joy that comes from just giving.
Why do we hold back? Some of us grow up with a spirit of lack. Others grow up believing that withholding from others gives us power. Both are fallacies. What we don’t share or give to others doesn’t grow. It sits with us like a stagnant pond, losing vital energy by the minute. In giving, we receive. In giving, we must also learn to receive. Khalil Gibran, one of my favorite mystic poets, wrote brilliant insights on the subject in his famous book : The Prophet. I remember when I was first introduced to “The Prophet,” I couldn’t put it down. I inhaled every page and detail and then read it again. When we become mindful, we become attentive to our surroundings and how we are all connected. But we must stop and be motivated to listen. We can make our world more abundant and compassionate by seeing how we are all tied together. Our eagerness to act in selfish ways is a sign of insecurity and a need to be right … but it holds no gravitas. In the end, what matters is what we give to others, not what we show others, hold back or what we take.
What Does Mindfulness mean to you? In what ways are you mindful/unmindful? How do you experience it in your life? Thank you.
Positive Motivation Tip: A moment of mindful action is greater than a lifetime of forced action. Live with Mindfulness, contentment and peace. It’s a healthier choice!
Motivation Mondays is open to anyone who wishes to share a motivational quote, photo, personal challenge or a post that encourages others to start the week on an upbeat note.
Basic Instructions: Each week, I will have a motivation word to help us create a response. (See listed words for end of November and all of December below)
Email address: You may email or share your post as a comment and I will add it to the round-up of related posts. email it to: contact(@)mirthandmotivation(.)com
Category tag: – Share your post using Motivation Mondays
Twitter hashtag: – Use this on Twitter #MotvnM
Dedicated Page: There is a dedicated page for Motivation Mondays. It has the same instructions and will include other helpful tools and a link to the round-up
Facebook Page: MotivationOnMondays Join our page and add your post and/or any motivational piece you think will be helpful to others.
Facebook Community: We have a Facebook community forum to compliment the page. It serves as another way to share uplifting posts and thoughts. Please join in and add your voice.
Badge: – I created a fun badge using PicMonkey’s free photo editing tools. You can create your own, use WordPress’ integrated tool on your blog or you are welcome to use mine. (see dedicated page)
Tag: – Motivation Mondays
Hashtag: – #MotvnM
- Motivation Mondays: GROWTH (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: MISTAKES (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: PERFECTION (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: STRENGTH (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: HEALTH (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Responsibility (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Patience Is A Virtue (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: READ – Honoring Dr.Seuss (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: CELEBRATION (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Presidents Day & Leadership (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: LOVE (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: ATTITUDE (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Comfort Zone (mirthandmotivation.com)
- Motivation Mondays: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Most Inspired Quotes(mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Perspective (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: SILENCE (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Regrets (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Joy! (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Compassion (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: The Busy Busy Trap (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Forgiveness (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Acceptance (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: GRATITUDE (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Forgiveness (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Courage (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: Dream (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: CHANGE (mirthandmotivation)
- Motivation Mondays: (mirthandmotivation)
- RIP Zig Ziglar: King of Motivation… (mirthandmotivation)
- Reflections: Be The Change… (mirthandmotivation)
PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos: Sunrise, Sunset, Mars Sunset, Bee Lick Creek, Lake Mapourika by Ricahrd Palmer,Contemplation Nature reserve, Lakes, Poinsettia, Forest shots Madeira flowers, Arizona sunset, Flowers, Little Gasparilla Sunrise, via Wikipedia