Mindfulness = Being Here Now

Image taken in Glen Allen, VA

Pause, right where and how you are (please).

Time for a few questions:

Where are you?

How are you?
How are you feeling?  Looking?  Acting?  Sounding?  Thinking?  Sitting?

Is this where you anticipated you'd be at this time?
Where you intended to be?

These questions are not meant to stir feelings of regret, but rather to be considered thoughtfully. 

If I were to answer the above questions honestly, I would say I am abstractly where I want to be.  I am physically at home and I am feeling a little hot (perhaps I was too quick to turn the AC off...? it is still September in Virginia, after all). 

I look like I am a little tired, but a little hopeful.  I'm acting considerably anti-social, considering the dogs' circles of wrestling to cuddling by my side indicate they would like to play and I am, meanwhile, feeling inspired to write.  I sound, in my head anyway, like I always do--loudly quiet, (very) briefly profound, and miraculously and thankfully hopeful.  As I type, I am sitting on a large, cushy armchair, knees together, folded to the side, feet partly beneath and partly in front of my hips.  (And I was sitting with less-than-ideal posture until a few minutes ago...)

In life, I suppose I would not have anticipated this is where I'd be.  I didn't exactly think about it.  Though I love a good plan, I try to refrain from planning decades ahead.  Some people can tell you precisely what their retirement will consist of, but I have never been someone of that mindset.

And one more question:

Can we ever really have a plan AND fully see it through?

I have always been a planner; this has been regarded as one of my strengths for much of my life.  Although I don't have to have everything planned out, I at least need to know that the plan is to be spontaneous.  (I'm so adventurous, I know!)  As ridiculous as that sounds, I've trained myself to expect that I'll know what to expect.

Imagine, then, my surprise and horror to find out that I was:
- being drawn away from the calling (teaching high school) I felt directed to since ninth grade
- being drawn back to university, after completing my degree eight years prior
- being drawn to yoga, nearly the most go with the flow skill/ profession/ lifestyle/ crowd with whom I could have possible become involved

What have you been drawn to?  Has it been what you've always expected for yourself?  Did your schooling/ love life/ family/ residence/ life turn out like you'd planned?  Again, this is not a time for regret, simply examination.  All of this factors into what we call mindfulness and mindful living.

Though clearly many people agree with the concept behind Momastery's Don't Carpe Diem post (it is, after all her first viral post), promoting NOT embracing the day and living in the moment, essentially because it's challenging and because you don't want to recognize your feelings of regret that you may be, in fact, just floating through your daily life, can be seen as a cop-out.

Obviously, this blog is called Making Mindfulness; as such, it and I attempt to make (meaning create, but also almost force) mindfulness in day-to-day existence.  If you can't be real enough with yourself that each day and each moment are worth experiencing fully, then how will you start to make experiencing them a priority?

I understand the pressures explained in the Don't Carpe Diem post, but I hope that readers will see beyond these and work to live for themselves and their families, rather than succumbing to the insistence of strangers to seize the day and associated fleeting feelings of guilt to power them through the day.  (Though, if you read many of the comments after that post, the people who say these things often have the best intentions...)

Instead of NOT carpe-ing the diem, how about we try baby stepping into mindfulness.  One moment, one sip of tea, one step, one car ride at a time...  If you start small and get used to how mindfulness feels and enhances each day, you won't want to live any other way.

What baby steps to mindfulness will you make today?

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