What is Mindfulness?

  I am flattered to be included among such a wonderful group of contributors in this 'What is Mindfulness?' post on the Simmons School of Social Work blog.  After reading through the contributions, this consistent message is clear: mindfulness is about practicing attentiveness/awareness to the present moment.


One typically conceives of achieving mindfulness by way of a regular mediation practice.  I wish I managed to make space for such in my life.  But the truth is, that I hate sitting on a cushion and meditating.  Still, I crave that connection to the present moment.  I so want to be less distracted and more here.

2For me, connecting to the present moment means simplifying.  Stripping away layers of junk, put away the iphone, stop multitasking, stop making to do lists in my head, and just find my center.

Sometimes that means rolling around on the floor and laughing with my girls.  Sometimes it means making love with my husband.  Sometimes it means engaging my body; running, lifting weights, yoga, snowboarding.  And sometimes, it means anywhere from 10-seconds to 10-minutes of eyes closed in + out breathing spaced throughout the day.

And in reality, I never actually shut off my mind.  What I do however is I watch my thoughts. I notice when my thoughts try to run away with me and I practice pulling myself back.  I disconnect from most of my thoughts leaving behind only a few that really matter.  My mind becomes less cluttered.  I create space inside myself.  I build a connection to the nowness of being me.

I love learning about mindfulness.  If you do also, make sure to check out this Train Your Brain webcast; sit back and learn what neuroscience is discovering about mindfulness and how we can literally reshape our brains!

I'm going to go out a limb and suggest perhaps connection is what mindfulness aims to achieve.  Maybe my version of connecting with those I love and within myself, mind/body, is just as transformative.  It certainly feels so.


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