I am participating in an online 8 week course called Mindfulness 101 with Liz.
Liz, a therapist, is well versed in mindfulness and meditation practices, but most of all she is a dear friend, and it is in that mode set that she’s offering this course as means to become more peaceful. Lord knows, we need all the hope and peace we can get!
To say we are living in difficult times is quite the understatement!
I never in a million years, dreamed we as a country…a world would be fighting for our lives from an unseen enemy called COVID 19. The insidious virus has entered our lives like a thief robbing us of those we hold dear to our heart.
I have to say it has been surreal…I go to bed at night praying the nightmare will end, but at morning’s dawn it stands at the end of the bed staring me in the face. Day after day my nightmare becomes a daymare and walks with me throughout my every waking moment. It seems there’s no shaking the monster from my back…no way to jump ship.
BUT let us never forget the good we have witnessed!
We’ve seen neighbors helping neighbors and not just the ones who live on the same street but those in our community, our state, our country, and our world. Health care workers, grocery store workers, postal workers, police officers, first responders…ALL essential individuals that have stayed on the frontlines risking their lives in order to save ours. These individuals are heroes and are worthy of praise!
We all should ask ourselves, “What can I do to give back?” In the introductory video, Liz asks herself that question, and the idea of a free online mindfulness course took root.
The framework of this course is three-fold:
- Once a week there will be a guided mindfulness/meditation video with Liz, approximately 30-45 minutes long.
- Each individual will set aside 20-30 minutes a day to practice mindfulness/meditation
- An ongoing support system from Liz and others who are taking this course
From the introductory video I learned the difference between mindfulness and meditation:
- Mindfulness- Paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non judgmentally.
- Meditation- Setting aside a time for stillness, silence, and solitude.
Mindfulness can be done at anytime…while cleaning the house, walking, washing our hands, making our coffee or tea, driving, and so on…The key is to be aware of your five senses while doing these tasks. What do you see, hear, smell, taste and touch? Pay attention on purpose.
Meditation is a form of mindfulness, but with mediation the goal is to be still, to be silent…to be in solitude with your breath.
Week 1: Stepping out of Auto Pilot
We’ve all done it…driven miles to arrive at our destination only to realize we remember nothing of the journey. So many times our mind is set on auto-pilot and the reason being is our mind is either stuck in the past, or way ahead into a future that is yet to happen. When we do this we miss out on so many experiences, and often ones that cannot be relived. So the goal of week 1 is to intentionally turn off auto-pilot and intentionaly live in the moment.
On week 1’s video Liz guided us through three-minute meditations. Eventually we’ll build up to 20 to 30 minutes, but for now, thank God (I’m a beginner), it’ll be 3 minute increments, and after each increment she brings us back to present.
Our mindfulness exercise for week 1, we were asked to choose 1 item from nature, and have it with us while we viewed the video.
We looked at it, held it, touched it…smelled it. We wondered about its origin, and wondered about its future.
I chose a dried maple leaf. I noticed the tiny veins like tributaries covering my leaf. I touched them and felt the ridges they created. I held it in the palm of my hand feeling its weightlessness. I wondered about its circle of life…when it was a bud…a tender green leaf…a sun toughened adult…a vibrant red player in autumn’s game, a brown dried leaf of winter…a fallen leaf of late winter…a loner scattered by March winds, and a decomposing leaf providing sustenance for continued life.
Week 1 Homework:
- Once a day do the 5 minute video called “stop-breath-think”
- Pick a daily task to do mindful and make it the same task every day: PJ and bed routine is what I chose
- Find a way to journal your experience. I decided to blog about my experience here on Redhead Reflections