Mindfulness is the new Black
Prediction. Ms Mindful will be wearing heels by the end of the year.
Mindfulness is the new darling. And we all want some of her.
But now all of us want to wear harem pants. Sit on a special cushion. In a contorted pose. In a cave.
Anyway if you’re like me. Over a certain age. You’re been though that phase before.
Not that there’s too much wrong with it. If it rocks your boat. Cool. Go for it.
Me. I’ll never wear those pants again. Not even to get a bit Mindful.
Here’s the good news. You can be mindful in heels. And a nice frock. Having an ordinary everyday life.
You don’t need any special gear. To give up certain foods. Convert to treking in nature. Or go on an expensive retreat. Though that might be nice. You definitely won’t ever need to chant. If you don’t want too.
Whew. I’m glad I’ve cleared that up. Ms Mindful is too. She was finding her style was getting a little cramped.
Here’s the best bit. You can just start. Right now. Go on. Get a bit Mindful. Yes right now. Right here. Or there. Where ever you are. It’s really not too complicated. So why not.
The scientific evidence is in. Mindfulness is good for you. It’s linked to happiness. Health. Longevity. And we all want some of that.
So go on. There’s a lot to gain. No point putting it off. Just start. Here’s a little artwork while you sit with a moment. Take a whole minute even. Oh and it does seem to help if you breathe. Sort of slowly. Focus on that to begin with.
So. How did you go? Did you start out OK. Sitting with your insides. Listening to yourself. Tuning into you.
Then after a bit did you wander? Off somewhere. Got a bit distracted. Thought about this. And that. About that thing you might buy. Went to the past. The future. Planned food for tonight. Then over there. To Paris. Or wherever you roam.
May I introduce Monkey Mind. That’s what it’s called. Though I think there’s a cute little bird nesting in my head. Flitting here. Then there.
Problem is that this is away. Away from here. The now. The what actually is. It‘s a sort of not being here. Seems this isn’t good. It changes our brain. In a bad way. Makes us dissatified. Dysregulated. Disconnected.
The practise. The Mindfulness bit. Is to notice. To watch that monkey. Oberve the bird. That wandering thought. As it starts to flit. Catch it in the act.
You don’t need to get all worked up. Hunt it down. Go on a full on monkey chase. Just watch it. Sort of softly. Let it go. Return to the now. Anyway. The bird is back. You start again.
So what’s the point. Well each time you do this. Each practise. The smallest change occurs. In your brain. Inside you. At first you will feel like you are just the same. But you’re not. You are in an ever so slightly different place. Just a bit. But it’s closer. To calm.
This how moment by moment you build a capacity for presence. How the pathways for attention are made and maintained. How you grow goodness in your brain.
It’s how you thicken up the Prefrontal Cortex. That’s the bit that carries out what are called executive functions. It’s quite the sophisticated area. So thicker is better. Much better.
It’s how you shrink the Amygdala. Which is where all that stressed out hyped up exhausting stuff is firing from. It’s a more primitive part of your brain so we need it to be under a bit of control. Like putting the guard dog on a leash. He can still bark but isn’t roaming wild.
The science backs up what practitioners have long claimed. That Mindfulness actually changes your brain. There is growth and increased connections in some bits. Decreased activity in others. In ways that are good.
It doesnt take long either. To measure these changes. About eight weeks. Once the changes are there the benefits are built in. Even when you’re not doing Mindfulness. You can move to a phase where it’s more intregrated. Into your life. Into you.
How cool is that. Even wearing your cute black frock and heels.
This is how you change yourself from a human DOING to a human BEING. Some one who is more attentive. Non judgemental. Kind. Cuious. Optimistic. Grateful. Compassionate. All loved up.
So try some. You don’t need to be a particular type. It’s for everyone. You only need a little bit to start. About ten minutes a day. Use it to benefit you. To paint your nails. To make a nice meal. To take a bath.
To master walking in heels. The way those Frenchwomen do. Across the cobblestones.
I know about the heel thing. I normally stay close to the ground. But sometimes a woman needs to up the stakes. But then my mind wandered. Just a wee bit. Well I was down. Hard. Damn. My excuse is that it was raining.
Still. Should have been paying more attention.