I woke up before 5:30 a.m. this morning. It’s daybreak. Just enough time to get to the lakeside where I knew some of my walking friends would come out for a morning workout called Strength and Balance. I saw the sun pop out of the horizon as I parked my car. This was a glorious start to my day. I felt inspired.
Being mindful of this feeling gave me a sense of peace and serenity.I let my mind relax and directed my attention towards myself. During the workout, my senses became more acute to the challenges my body was going through as I performed the physical drills. My mind went to my abs, my arms and my breathing. I felt strength channeling through my body. I also felt fatigue and the burning of my tired muscles. I acknowledged all these as they came into my awareness. They were all part of me.
As the day went on, I deliberately became mindful of my moments in between or during some tasks or activities, I allowed my mind to relax and let myself become aware of my thoughts and feelings.
My thoughts frequently drifted to those I cared for a lot in recent days. I had images and thoughts of JM, who was putting up a brave fight against terminal cancer. I thought about the friends and her family trying to support her. I thought about VL, who told me a couple of days ago his anguish and fear regarding the future of his career. I became aware of a few others who needed strength and confidence in their lives.
These were amazing moments when I allowed my thoughts and feelings to “be”. I recognized them, briefly hang onto them and accepted them, and calmness prevailed.
Well, it has been a long day; after all, it’s the longest day of the year. It has also been a very meaningful day. Admittedly, I cannot remember any single longest day of the year in my sextagenerian existence that I would consider special. This day of the year has been significant only because it is the day before my birthday, the fond memories of which naturally overshadowed those from the day before. Today I have made a difference. I have shared this day with the people I care for and I love in a mindful way. In true mindful spirit, this is what it is, just a day, but I will always remember this day.
As I am writing this post, the sky has cleared again after a brief thunder storm. It’s calmness outside and inside me.
(My mindfulness exercise is more a western psychological version of the art, even though some claim that it can trace its roots to Buddhist meditation. I subscribe to a practice that directs my attention to the immediate or on-going experience, or the so-called “here and now” of my sensation, thoughts and feelings. Furthermore, the orientation is towards openness and acceptance of the experience on hand. )
.References: Bishop, S.R., Lau, M., Shapiro, S., Carlson, L., et al. (2004).“Mindfulness: A Proposed Operational Definition”, Clin Psychol Sci Prac 11:230–241.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994) Wherever you go, there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mindfulness-based_stress_reduction