by Skywalker Payne
Do you remember when your mother or grandmother said, “Chile you better mind me.” You knew she was telling you to pay attention to her and do what she said. She was telling you to be aware to avoid getting into trouble or getting hurt. And this is simply mindfulness – being aware.
Maybe you’ve come across mindfulness in a passing blog or advertisement with the image of a person sitting cross-legged on the floor with their eyes closed. Your immediate thought may have been, I don’t have time for this “New Age Spirituality.” Or maybe you look at it as some type of mind control. Or even worse as one of those non-Christian rituals that won’t help you get to heaven.
But, you’ve probably been practicing mindfulness in your life more often than you thought, just as I was before I ever heard about mindfulness. Think of those times when you’ve just taken a few minutes to sit and enjoy the silence of a colorful sunrise or sunset. Or when you’ve been totally focused on a project you were doing – sewing a dress, or building a piece of furniture, or solving a budgeting problem. Those moments when you totally concentrated on one thing and all sounds, interruptions, and other activity disappeared.
You found your breath slowed as your mind flowed, and all that existed was the moment in which you were involved. This is mindfulness.
Mindfulness based stress-reduction, MBSR, is a specific form of mindfulness designed to help you be aware of being aware, to recognize the preciousness of each moment by reducing stress. Reducing stress leads to better health and happiness. Better health and happiness leads to gratitude and compassion for yourself and others.
Although based on meditation practices from the East, MBSR is a clinical, non-religious approach to self-healing. Developed by Jon-Kabat-Zinn, MD in the 1970’s, thousands of scientific medical studies have proven MBSR is able to positively impact a person’s health by reducing stress.
Stress is a significant contributor to conditions ranging from heart disease to diabetes. Mindfulness studies have shown significant improvement in:
· Glucose levels of people with diabetes
· Reduction of anxiety
· Improvement of psychological problems from ADHD to Bipolar
· Assisting with weight loss
· Improving self image
· Creating confidence
· Promoting relaxation
· Reducing sleeplessness
· Increase feelings of happiness and equanimity
Mindfulness can be practiced in the midst of your busy daily life. You can begin with a simple practice called STOP.
· Stop what you are doing, particularly if you feel emotions rising
· Take a slow deep belly breath and exhale even more slowly
· Observe what you are feeling in your body as well as in your mind
· Process your observations and Proceed with calmness and equanimity.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to learn how to practice mindfulness. You can begin with the STOP process and as you have time, just sit for a minute and follow your breath. Increase incrementally, as you have time. Eventually, you’ll find you don’t feel so impatient standing in line for your coffee, you spend that time breathing and observing how your body feels. When a car speeds in front of you without using turning signals, you’re not cursing or crashing on your breaks because you were aware and able to take a mindful deep breath as you slowed down.
When your wife yells at you, you’re able to practice STOP and reflect on the hard day she had at work, taking care of the kids, and she just burnt the steak she was cooking. And when your co-worker gets on your last nerve, you find a place to take a few minutes of calming breaths to slow down your beating heart and to remember, this moment too will pass. Later, you actually smile at that person and are surprised by their conciliatory response.
Mindfulness heals and transforms. And you know your grandmother spoke from experience. Take some time to mind your mind with mindfulness to see how your life will become more balanced, happy, and fulfilling.
About the Author
Skywalker Payne is a registered nurse and author of All That Is, Dance of Mindfulness & Gratitude – A Quest for Wholeness.
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BOOK: All That Is, Dance of Mindfulness & Gratitude – A Quest for Wholeness
A Creative Non-Fiction book by Skywalker Payne
Now is the Only Time to Begin Your Mindfulness Practice
Tibetan Buddhist practitioner and registered nurse, Skywalker Payne unites spiritual and health benefits of mindfulness and gratitude. Using a conversational style, she shares scientific studies, spiritual insights, personal stories, and poetry to reveal how these practices can enrich your life.
You not only share one woman’s journey, but also learn techniques and approaches to integrate mindfulness and gratitude into your daily life.
* You can end overwhelm.
* You can live a fulfilling life of health and vitality.
* You can be aware and appreciative of every precious moment.
A profound book that sets the reader thinking about big subjects, all within the context of mindfulness. Skywalker introduces the idea of how mindfulness could transform more than just individual’s lives, but also how we as a society govern ourselves. She includes her own process through a mindfulness course, demonstrating commitment and insights that are useful for anyone considering learning about mindfulness. A thought-provoking and inspiring read. – Jane Duncan Rogers, Author of Gifted By Grief: A True Story of Cancer, Loss and Rebirth
Purchase All That Is - Dance of Mindfulness & Gratitude: A Quest for Wholeness by Skywalker Payne
Book Reviews for Skywalker Payne
An honest, authentic look into the wonderful mind of Skywalker Payne. If you are working on improving or perfecting your mindfulness practice, pick up this book.
– Tom Morkes, CEO of Insurgent Publishing
"All That Is" - a beautifully written book. It's meant for all peoples. Before I got a copy my perception of gratitude and mindfulness was guided by my Christian teachings and knowledge acquired as a scientist. After I immersed myself in the read, I became reeducated and had a deeper appreciation of the themes gratitude and mindfulness. Through Skywalker’s stories - some personal - I learned ways by which I could make that deep profound connection with my inner self, with nature, and ways to express gratitude - not just to others, but for everyday living and situations. One mustn't be rich or famous to attain contentment. All one needs, as Skywalker projects via her book, is to search within and adopt a simple yet wholesome approach.”
– Uzoma Okoroafor, 85degrees.wordpress.com