Practicing mindfulness has a lot of advantages that will help you become more alert, more focused, and more likely to finish what you started.
I focus a lot on “focus” in this particular episode because we are simply an oversaturated, overstimulated society and might need a refresher on what it takes to be truly mindful. The more mindful you are, the more successful you’ll be with almost anything you start – mainly because you’ll finish!
(The following is a transcript of a episode number 66).
The more you multi-task, the less mindful you are.
That’s interesting, but is it useful to know this? I mean, alright, you’re less mindful, but how is that a big deal? It’s not a big deal really, it’s more of a lot of little “deals” that add up and feel like lots of big problems.
Some people have a little problem with forgetfulness. And that can be a big problem. Just like some people have a little stress in their life, and that can also be a big problem. These little problems add up to create a less than peaceful existence, but they can decrease with mindfulness.
By the time today’s episode is over, you’ll learn exactly what mindfulness is, and a few techniques you can use to practice it, not only to help your brain remember things easier, but also to help you learn to prioritize tasks, enjoy the small moments, and wash away stress and overwhelm.
If you’re already in zen mode all the time, then you can probably stop playing this episode right now. But if you’re like most people, you are busy more often than not and could use a bit of mindfulness every now and then.
Wouldn’t it be nice to find some tranquility in the occasional storms that life throws our way? Mindfulness can help you get out of your mind while being in your mind. It can release you from the constraints of your physical body, while not going anywhere at all.
If that’s confusing, good, I’m just helping you start to access that more voidy space inside of you so you don’t overthink this episode too much. If you’re a critical thinker, you may think it’s challenging to be mindful, but mindfulness actually lends itself well to critical thinkers, so stick around and we’ll talk a little about some practices and maybe even practice it in real time.
When I was the Technical Manager for an alarm monitoring station, I was responsible for multiple forms of technology including computers, alarm receivers, telephone equipment, and a slew of other devices let alone being the main contact for all the technicians out in the field.
Every single task assigned to me I created a system for. I wrote a two page quick reference sheet on how to disarm and resolve issues on every alarm panel we monitored. I was the person everyone came to for their computer questions and any other technical questions they had.
When I was in that position, I felt good about what I did for work, and confident that I could handle any situation that arose. My attention to detail was stupendous and the company knew they could count on me.
When I was at work, I was stellar. I could remember detailed instructions, passwords, and minute technical data without having to think twice. But when I got home, it was an entirely different story.
I would leave work and wind down from the day on the way home. When I walked in the door and my girlfriend asked me about my day, I had trouble recalling almost anything that happened, unless it made a big emotional impact on me. But for the most part, I really couldn’t remember the details.
I would sit at the table, thinking back, knowing I had a busy day but simply couldn’t remember what I did. When I was at work, I remembered everything, but when I got home, I was like Jello. It was like there was a switch that turned off as soon as I left work.
Have you ever felt like that after a busy day? You got a ton accomplished and your brain worked efficiently and quick, but you couldn’t remember what you did when you got home and relaxed?
I felt like this every night. I’d come home, and have almost nothing to say because I simply turned off my “work mode”. You know work mode right? It’s that mode some people jump into when they are working. Typically less emotional and more action oriented.
When I turned off my work mode, I was mostly mindless and just wanted to relax and watch TV or play a game. I didn’t want to think, I wanted other people to think for me. It was like I had a split personality.
Now what’s funny about that, is that it’s somewhat true. I would wake up in the morning and as I started getting ready, I could feel “work mode” starting to kick in. It didn’t, but it was starting. Then when I arrived at work, I was there. I was in the moment, taking care of things as they happened and preventing other things before they did.
Then as my day was coming to an end, I found it hard to turn work mode off and actually wanted to stay late continuing to work more. I figured the more I worked today, the less I would have to work the next day.
But what always happened is that I’d never work less the next day, and always work late. It just became the way I operated. I would eventually leave an hour later sometimes, but never right on time.
I didn’t want to leave because I actually enjoyed work mode. My mind was sharp, and I could think on my feet. I was energized and kept moving all day long. I didn’t want that feeling to end, which is why I wanted to stay.
But I also liked going home and turning off work for a while too. I did enjoy downtime, but I really missed my mind when I got home, if that makes sense.
When I was at work, I was mindful. I was “on” and making things happen. When I was at home, I became mindless and slow. I was functioning at an entirely different level, and it was just something I never thought about until I learned about mindfulness later on in life.
It was like I’d turn on my brain when I went to work. I actually conditioned it that way. I created a pattern of when I was at work, my brain was sharp and fast. When I wasn’t, it was slow and barely functioning.
Why is that? Do you ever get this way, where you are sharp and ‘right on’ with one set of tasks, but barely functioning with another?
For me, I thought maybe it was because of the constant stimulation, or the time of day, or my internal clock, or maybe the food I ate.
All of these factors play a role in how sharp our mind is and how much energy we have, but I’d like to talk about how mindfulness, or lack thereof, plays a role. So let’s dive into some mindful conversation and see where it takes us.
Mindfulness is placing your awareness on your thoughts, feelings, and emotions while being present in the world. It is when you observe yourself experiencing experiences.
Think of mindfulness as having a thought, then being aware of how that thought is affecting you.
For example, when a friend of mine asked to borrow money from me a few months ago, I didn’t want to give it to him because he borrows from everyone, and I realize that enabling that in our relationship would change it drastically. He would soon ask all the time and make me feel uncomfortable.
So the moment he asked, I could have responded several different ways. I could made something up like, “Uh, I don’t have any money right now, sorry.” Or I could have given him an adamant, “No way! I don’t want to give you any money.”
But instead of lying or reacting, I decided to check inward and ask myself what I was feeling and what was true to me. I did this in a matter of seconds too. I thought, “I don’t want to lend him money, so what do I need to do to honor myself in this situation? If I lend him money, it will change how we relate to each other.”
The answer that came to me was to just say “no”, but calmly. And, to speak to him from my heart after I told him ‘no’. And that’s what I did. I thought for just a few seconds, being very mindful of my thoughts and feelings, then I calmly said, “No.”
He responded, “Well, if I can’t borrow the money, can I have it instead?” and I said, “No” again. Then I looked at him and said, “I don’t want to introduce borrowing money into our friendship. I really like how we get along and I’d feel better not having to think about money every time I see you.”
He was taken back at first, but then realized I was sincere and not just saying ‘no’ to be a jerk. He accepted my answer, and we were fine after that. Since then, it’s never come up again.
I stayed mindful of how I was feeling inside and what I really wanted. I then honored how I felt and acted upon it.
Mindfulness is when you are present both inside and outside of you. It’s when you stay aware of the experience you are having, instead of thinking about the past or the future. It’s paying attention to the Now.
The difference I perceive between presence and mindfulness is that presence is more externally focused, where you aren’t diving into your own thoughts and feelings, but being receptive to other people and your environment without your own judgments.
Where mindfulness is when you are present externally and also aware of what’s going on inside of you too. It is being conscientious of the thoughts, emotions and sensations that are happening in your body.
For people that are always wired and staying busy, it’s a real challenge to stop and pay attention to what’s going on inside of you.
For as long as I’ve known my mom, she’s been this way. High energy and always keeping her mind occupied. Whenever we talk, if we ever start to get into her feelings about something painful, she immediately changes the subject. She never goes inward to process anything and always redirects the conversation when it happens.
As a people helper for at least the last ten years of my life, I’ve spent quite a bit of time helping her open up that part of herself so that she could be free from those negative emotions. But, just a few years ago, I realized something important: She’s not ready to let them go.
I think she wants to let the pain of a long-term, abusive marriage go, but she doesn’t want to talk about it because the pain comes back when she does. So she stays busy and doesn’t allow herself to have painful thoughts and emotions come to the surface. The busier she stays, the more those old, painful feelings keep getting stuffed back down.
Mindfulness is when you can step out of the consistent stimulation of your environment and be aware of what’s happening inside of you, even if you don’t want to face what might be painful memories.
The more you resist and avoid, the longer the painful thoughts and emotions stay buried and come out in destructive ways later. Whether through physical symptoms of stress, or through behavior like bursts of anger or passive aggressiveness.
When you are mindful, you can start processing what’s coming up in the moment instead of letting things pile up inside of you.
This is what mindfulness does, it helps you become aware of what’s happening inside of you so that things don’t get thrown onto the pile to be discovered later. It reminds me of the worst job I ever had as a service dispatcher.
This was before email, so I would get paper, lots of paper on my desk. Coworkers would hand me a customer’s information on a piece of paper, and I’d add it to my “To Do” pile. The problem was, I was already working on something else when I got this new piece of information, so my pile got bigger and bigger.
Soon, it was impossible to keep up with. There was no free time because there was always something to occupy my time. My pile of papers was about three inches thick, and the phone never stayed silent long enough for me to get to the pile.
So customers would call upset that they hadn’t been taken care of yet. And the job ended up giving me headaches.
This is what happens inside of you if new information comes your way that you need to take care of but don’t have time to. This is like the high energy person who keeps themselves busy so they don’t have to deal with what’s happening inside of them.
The new data that comes at them is piled on top of the old data, and helps push the older data down even further. While pushing the old data down, they may also be repressing negative emotions. Of course, that’s not how all of us process information. I mean, just because you’re not being mindful doesn’t mean you are repressing negative emotions.
It’s possible you aren’t repressing anything at all, and are simply not being mindful. But not being aware of what’s going on inside of you can lead to repressing emotions, that’s for sure. But it can also lead to other things too like stress and overwhelm, unhappiness, and scatterbrain and forgetfulness.
Not only that, but you end up missing much of life because you’re always staying busy. It’s like taking a camera on a rollercoaster and taking pictures of the experience instead of living the experience. It’s an entirely different feeling between being whipped around and taken to extreme heights on a rollercoaster and taking pictures of your ride while being whipped around taken to extreme heights.
If you don’t like roller coasters, sorry about description but you get the idea. It’s like you’re focused on what’s on the camera and not what you’re immersed in.
When you aren’t immersed and aware of everything that you are experiencing, you are not mindful. When you do this, you remove yourself from the experience and aren’t as aware of your own presence in a situation.
I can understand how something like this can be useful in a scary situation however. In fact, children learn to dissociate, or separate from their experience, when there’s a lot of abuse. It’s a coping mechanism to help them survive the pain they are experiencing.
If you had any type of trauma or abuse in your childhood, it’s possible you learned a coping mechanism that helps you separate from the pain. You could have learned it so well that you applied it to any situation you didn’t want to face head on in life.
And the more you applied it, the more stressed and overwhelmed you became because the bad stuff you went through wasn’t being processed, it was being buried. It was handy to bury this stuff as a child, but buried pain doesn’t stay buried, it comes out eventually.
It’s up to us how it comes out, whether through mindfulness, or therapy, or being vulnerable with a friend, it’s all available to us if we just let ourselves take the steps we need to take in order to heal.
You may or may not have any repressed pain or negative emotions, but you may be experiencing stress and / or overwhelm of some sort. After all, people in complete bliss all the time typically don’t listen to shows like this, they just bliss out to nothing.
This show exists to help get you closer to bliss. Well, actually, that’s not true. This show just helps you heal and grow, so if after you do that you want to get closer to bliss, that’s up to you. The path you choose is yours to do so. It’s all a matter of where you want to be in life and what you want to accomplish.
For this episode, I want to accomplish helping you learn mindfulness. And the reason I want to do that is because by learning it, you get to cover a foundational element of healing and growth. Once you learn to be more mindful in situations, you start experiencing the world more as it is instead of any unrealistic interpretations you may come up with about it.
In other words, the world is our experience, and we can either be mindful of what’s happening here and now, staying aware of what’s going on inside of us as well as outside, or we can say “next” over and over again, just absorbing new data all the time without totally immersing ourselves in what we already know.
That doesn’t mean we can’t be quick and efficient, it just means we’re not burying what we’ve learned to simply go on to the next thing. So, let’s do that. Let’s go on to the next thing since I just mentioned it. We’ll talk about what’s next, which is “what’s next?”
What’s next? Got it. How about this? Got it.
Have you ever used this thing called the Internet? That’s a “What’s Next?” machine! In fact, I bet ever since we started automating machines in the 1700s, we’ve been in “What’s Next?” mode.
“What’s Next” mode is when you feel the need to be consistently stimulated. Whether it’s with new knowledge, recreation, drugs, alcohol, caffeine…. all these short bursts of stimulation to help us fulfill that “What’s Next?” need.
The internet is a portal to every type of mental stimulation available except actual experience. Of course, the internet can lead to actual experience, but the internet itself is not an immersive experience.
It feels immersive, especially if we can stay focused on one thing while we’re using it. However, when you find yourself clicking link after link, looking for more information, that’s when it becomes quick bursts of stimulation.
I got lost in that “What’s Next?” mode for years, and needed to supply my brain with what was next all the time. One website wasn’t enough, I needed all the data I could fill my brain with. It was great in the beginning because I would learn new things and have new skills. But what I noticed happening was that by always having access to all information all the time, I would stray.
I’d look up how some piece of technology worked, and soon I found myself reading the news or watching funny videos. I would go to write a friend an email, but ended up playing a game. It was always what was next that kept pulling me from the things I started.
This led me to believe that I had a problem staying focused, and that I had memory issues too. I felt like I couldn’t keep attention on anything for too long, and that I would get bored if I wasn’t continually stimulated.
The faster you train your brain to respond to the environment, the faster it searches for stimulation. That’s not a problem if you can keep it up, but as you know, that’s almost impossible. So when you take your over-stimulated brain and put it in situations that are more reasonably paced, you start to get antsy and can’t keep your mind focused on a single task.
When I started this show, I learned everything I could about building it from the ground up. I dove into website after website and watched videos and joined groups. I did everything I could to learn more about every aspect of starting a venture such as this. And I eventually learned how to create a website, use audio equipment, record and distribute podcasts and so much more. But it was highly stimulating.
What happened is when I finally got all my systems in place, I didn’t require as much knowledge as I did when I started. I was applying what I learned daily. But, because I knew what I was doing now, I ended up with something I’ve heard called “The Shiny Object Syndrome”.
It’s not a clinical term, but it does describe well how I felt for months always chasing the next shiny object. It’s a metaphor for continuously being lured into the next tantalizing thing.
For example, when I started, I had to consider how I was going to sustain myself while I recorded shows every week. No one pays you to podcast, you need to seek forms of income that will pay the bills and keep a roof over your head, let alone all the costs of running a show to begin with.
So I considered getting sponsors for the show, or creating a personal growth course, or making a membership site that requires a monthly fee, all kinds of things went through my head. And when I thought of something that might work to generate an income, I would start putting all my energy into that course of action.
For instance, I took the time to seek sponsors for this show, but a few weeks into it I gave it up because I learned about another way to make money. So I went in that direction, and soon, I heard about another source of possible income so I started focusing on that instead.
Shiny object after shiny object kept tempting me, so I would never complete what I started and just jump into the next chase.
This can happen to anyone that doesn’t follow a path to full completion. This is a severe lack of focus and is the opposite of how we need to be in order to succeed in anything in our life.
Robert Kiyosaki has the perfect acronym for the word “focus”, it’s this:
Follow One Course Until Success.
As soon as I adopted this into my life, I actually started completing tasks and getting out of the Shiny Object Syndrome. I got distracted much less and finished projects more often. In fact, that acronym is the reason I was able to create my first ebook and almost finish up my second one as we speak.
I chose to follow one course until successful, and also to the exclusion of almost anything else. It’s almost a redundant statement I realize, but I needed to word it that way so when temptations arose, I’d exclude them specifically.
For example, when I started writing my ebook, Clear The Path To Happiness, I made a promise to myself that I would finish it no matter what tempted me. What happens when you do this is that you create a road that you are compelled to follow no matter what.
When you are compelled to do something, you either do it to fulfill that compulsion, or resist doing it with all your might. So compelling yourself to do something that will benefit you can be a very good thing. If you want to do a project to completion, follow the FOCUS model and exclude any temptations that come your way.
When I made the commitment to focus on my ebook until it was finished, I received at least 3 offers to make money elsewhere. These offers didn’t come before I started or after I finished, only during. This seems to happen a lot! Whenever I commit, the door opens and more opportunities arrive.
It’s like when you get into a relationship, suddenly you’re more attractive to other people. I don’t know what cosmic dance, if any, is at work, but it’s strange how that happens. When you commit, and keep that commitment no matter what comes your way, you will absolutely finish what you started.
And only people who finish things get what they want in life, because they see it through to completion.
This FOCUS model is the perfect first step in being mindful. It is giving conscious attention to what you’re committed to, helping you sustain awareness of what you need to do in your life. Following one course helps train your brain to not always look for what’s next. It slows it down a bit so that more attention can be paid to what you’re committed to.
And as you complete the first project, you will build a reference in yourself giving your subconscious mind “proof” that you are fully capable of completing tasks. The more you do this, the more you start trusting yourself, and believing in your own words.
This can be hard for some people, because they go around saying, “Yeah, but I know me! I know I won’t be able to do that project because that’s who I am!”
Committing to finish to the exclusion of almost everything else resolves that negative self-talk because you start building positive references. You start following through with your commitments more often, getting more confident in your abilities.
With more confidence comes more congruence. You know congruence, right? It’s when your thoughts and intentions line up with your behavior. People will recognize incongruence in you if you always say you’re going to finish something but never do. They might start distrusting you and not having faith that you’ll come through.
The more you do come through however, the more confidence you will instill in others towards you, if that makes sense. The more you complete, the more congruent you will appear not only to yourself, but to others as well.
You know, it’s important to appear congruent to yourself, because it eliminates negative self-talk. Finishing what you started gives you confidence and helps you build self-esteem.
So follow that one course until you are successful, and you will be successful more often than not.
Practicing mindfulness is just that, practice. It’s a practice that is never really perfected, but the practice is where the value is anyway.
The FOCUS model is one way to start retraining your brain to become more mindful as it limits interference from what would be disruptive sources. The less your brain starts to wander onto different thoughts, the easier it is be mindful.
Another way to stop your mind from wandering is a little trick I use, and that is repeating what you need to do over and over again until you do it. I don’t mean repeating a task, I mean repeating what you’re going to do either in your head or verbally.
For example, I know someone who has trouble completing smalls tasks without getting sidetracked. If her goal is to get a glass of water from the kitchen, she’ll read the mail, clean the stove, make a phone call, then maybe,eventually get that glass of water, if she remembers that was her original intention to begin with.
I told her the next time she starts to do something to repeat that something in her head. Something like, “Get a glass of water and nothing else. Get a glass of water and nothing else.” If she repeats that over and over again, she’ll most likely complete the task. After that, she can read the mail and clean the stove or whatever.
But the idea is to complete what you started more and more so that your subconscious mind will trust you. I know that sounds weird, but your subconscious mind learns from what you feed it. So if you feed it that you are going to get a glass of water, then you end up on the couch watching TV never having made it to the kitchen, you will actually have less confidence in your abilities to do things in life.
It’s a stretch, I know, but I’ve been this way and I’ve had to do this in my own life. I had to start repeating phrases like, “No matter what, I am going to wash the dishes now. No matter what, I am going to wash the dishes now.” That’s just one example of course, but it gives you an idea of what you can do to start building confidence and trust in yourself that you are a person who gets things done. You take action and follow through.
That does a lot for your confidence and self-esteem, let alone helping you learn to practice mindfulness more and more. I still practice this today, these repeating phrases, except now they are more of a subconscious program that kicks in as a reminder to get back on track.
Even now as I speak I want to check my email or be entertained, but I hear myself saying “Stick to the show and talk until you’re done. Stick to the show and talk until you’re done.” By doing this, it helps me get back on track and finish what I’m doing no matter what.
This has helped me tremendously. Finishing something no matter what is a powerful process, and it really isn’t even a process at all. It’s just a practice. A step to help you achieve more awareness of yourself and more empowerment because of what happens when you are more in tune and in control of your actions. Things don’t always work out as planned, but you do your best because this isn’t about things working out better, it’s about you making commitments and following through to help your brain be a bit more organized and less chaotic.
Chaos happens when we overstimulate the brain. That’s why there are so many proponents of meditation. When you start meditating, one thing you notice is that you need less stimulation for your brain. You start becoming more mindful of yourself and the world around you.
I don’t talk about meditation much on this show because you’ve heard about it over and over again from so many other sources. And, quite frankly, I don’t schedule meditation into my daily routine, I just allow it to happen when it needs to.
Even today I had something on my mind, so I stopped recording and laid my head down on my desk. It may sound a bit strange, but after a quick 10 minute rest and meditation, I had more energy and my brain was functioning faster as a result.
I guess you could call this meditation on demand, because I just do this whenever I need to. I used to do this at the office job I had too. I would go into the break room, sit on the couch, and close my eyes and relaxed. I let whatever thoughts and feelings I had rise up and go where they needed to go.
After about 10 minutes, it felt like I had an hour-long nap. Stimulating your brain can get tiring, unless you’re feeding yourself lots of caffeine or drugs to stay alert. But even that doesn’t last because your body will eventually make it impossible for you to stay active if you don’t have it in you anymore.
So, if anything, besides the mental benefits of meditation, even the physical benefits are powerful. When you’re tired, meditation acts like a nap. When you’re overstimulated, meditation acts like an anti-stimulant.
Meditation actually forces you to be mindful, in the sense that it gives you the opportunity to check in with yourself and be aware of your thoughts and feelings. This doesn’t mean you have to meditate for an hour a day, but even when you’re standing in line at the grocery store, there’s an opportunity to stand in awareness of everything going on inside and outside of you.
These small moments lead to big changes in how you think and function. Every little thing you do to practice mindfulness leads to less stress, faster brain function, and better memory and capacity.
Most of all, mindfulness helps you uncover the past and let repressed memories come up. Now, you may or may not be ready for this, especially if you’ve had a lot of abuse or trauma in childhood. So be sure to seek professional advice if you know you won’t be able to handle whatever comes up. Or, at least find a support group that will be there when something becomes too much to handle.
I was fortunate in my childhood. I did get emotionally abused and had to live in what I perceived as consistent danger. But aside from some minor and somewhat inappropriate physical contact from someone I was supposed to trust, it was a walk in the park compared to some of the stories I’ve heard from other people. And there are a lot of stories out there.
So if you have one of those stories, know that there are people out there who’ve experienced a lot, and there are support groups and experts that can get you through whatever might come up.
And for those of you that haven’t experienced abuse, you may have developed different ways to use your brain that may not benefit you.
What determines if what you’re doing benefits you or not, are your results. Are you always seeking more stimulation? Or are you always stressed out? Or what is it for you? Maybe you just have short bursts of stress, or maybe you’re a little scatterbrained now and then.
Either way, if you’re experiencing those things more often than not, let’s end today’s show with a mindful experience, shall we?
When I was the Technical Manager at that alarm company, I was sharp. I was on the ball. I could answer almost any question lightning fast. But why?
Because I was in the perfect storm of criteria that allowed it to happen. I enjoyed what I did for work, I was working with people I liked, and it was in a field I enjoyed learning about. I also felt like I was being treated fairly and that I could actually rise in the ranks with the company I was with.
When I got to work, I turned on because the environment trained my brain to be quick and agile. But when I got home, even though I enjoyed being home, I was no longer mindful, I was mindless! I turned off.
I do like the idea of leaving work at work, but not at the expense of my energy and brain function. So I started getting into things that I could focus on at home too. I didn’t want to just mindlessly watch TV every night, so my girlfriend and I took up ballroom dancing. This reinvigorated my body and brain, and got me into a rhythm that helped me become mindful in activity instead of mindless in drip-fed recreation like video games and TV.
We didn’t dance every night, but we did it enough that it gave me the boost I needed where I didn’t feel so off when I got home at night. Having one thing to occupy my mind instead of multiple forms of entertainment also kept my mind sharp, and allowed me to practice mindfulness without even trying.
Sure, it wasn’t mindful in the sense that I checked in with my thoughts and feelings because I really didn’t do that back then, but keeping the focus helped me fine tune my brain and get it ready to become mindful one day, which I now practice all the time.
So let’s do a process that helps you become more mindful, and maybe you’ll understand it well enough that you can do it on your own. This isn’t the only way to be mindful, but it’s one. So it might be best if you weren’t driving or flying a plane right now.
For everyone else, let’s begin by noticing the world around you, in the way you notice it. Whether it’s what you see, what you hear, touch, smell or taste. Just be aware of what’s outside of you and your body. And whatever you observe, try not to make too many judgments about it.
And as you notice things, if any thoughts about those things come up, let them come up. If any sensations or emotions come up, let them rise to the surface too.
Stay aware of your present surroundings as you do this but also stay aware of your inner state both physically and mentally.
Be present and in the moment by not travelling to the past or the future in your mind, and just experience now as it is. And be mindful by allowing whatever thoughts that need to rise up, let them exist as they need to exist.
Pretend that you have an entire hour to yourself where no one is around to influence you, ask you questions, or demand things of you, and you’re just here to experience the vitality and being-ness that is you. And if someone is around, be mindful of their presence, but not judgmental of their behavior.
Sometimes mindfulness reminds us of who we are and what we feel without the influence of others. It is a time to allow us to be who we need to be at the time. If you feel upset, be upset. If you feel happy or content, be that.
There is no right or wrong way to feel, so try not to apply any meaning to what you’re feeling. Some feelings feel good, some don’t, but just allow whatever you feel to exist. Don’t resist what comes up. Whatever thoughts, feelings or sensations come up for you, just welcome them.
No matter what they are, welcome them, even if you don’t like them. The idea behind this is to not evaluate what’s coming out from depths of your unconscious mind, but to just be with the thoughts and feelings that arise.
And while you’re doing this, just breathe.
What we’re going to do now is I’m going to ask you to remember something you’re going to do tomorrow as if you’ve already done it. Does that make sense?
Remember something you’re going to do tomorrow as if you’ve already done it. Pick something, anything, that you know you are going to do tomorrow, even if it’s completely mundane.
Alright, now let’s travel through our internal senses one at a time. First, visualize what that activity will be like. Make it bright, then dim. Make it colorful, then muted. Make it really large and really small. And as you change these things about the image, find that sweet spot that feels right. If it’s too big, make it smaller. If it’s not bright enough, make it brighter. Do anything you want with the image until it’s just right.
If you have any trouble visualizing, just pretend that you can see what I’m talking about. The point is in the attention you are giving to the process.
Next, hear what you hear in this activity. Is there anything that is making noise? Listen for any sound, even if it’s just environmental like in the background. With this activity you are visualizing, what can you hear? If it’s quiet, make it louder. If it’s high pitched, make it low pitched. Play with the sound until it’s just right – find that sweet spot again.
Now that you have sound and visual down, let’s move into feeling. What can you feel, like with your hands or your body in this imagined activity? Are you holding something, or wearing something? Do you feel what’s under your feet? Whatever feelings you have, amplify them or decrease them, looking for that sweet spot.
Now with this activity still in your mind, do you smell anything? Is there anything nearby that has a scent? There may or may not be, as sometimes we don’t pay attention to smell. But if you can smell something increase or decrease it until you find the sweet spot.
Now the last is taste. What do you taste in your mouth when you think about this activity? You’ll either taste something or not, either way is fine. If you do taste something, amplify or decrease the intensity of the taste. Again, finding that sweet spot.
Alright, imagine yourself going through this activity as if you were really there. Make sure you are actually looking through your own eyes. With all the sights, sounds, feelings and everything else in their sweet spot, go ahead and finish that activity. But when you finish, do something different that will be memorable.
What I mean is in your mind’s eye, add something to the activity that you’ve never done, no matter how weird it is. Whether that means you pull out a can of spray paint and paint your hair, or find a bag of gold, or whatever. Make something up that will be different than the mundane activity was.
You got it? Good, now I want you to start coming back to now, in the present moment and just allow that memory to go into your long term storage so that the next time you do that activity, maybe that one new thing you added will be recalled. It doesn’t matter if it really happens, because that wasn’t the point of this process.
The point was to stay focused and mindful of what you were doing. Were you able to stay mindful as I walked you through that process?
If you aren’t quite back yet, keep coming back into the here and now. And just notice if your senses feel any different than they did before. This is just a practice in mindfulness. It’s not textbook by any means, it’s just practice.
If you were mindful and present during that process, than you know that you have the capability to slow down every now and then and take some time to just “be” a while.
If you kept drifting into other thoughts and ideas, then just practice some of the steps from this episode. It may take some time for your brain to get used to not being so overly stimulated, always taking you in different directions.
Either way, you can listen to this again if you’d like and go on another mindful journey anytime you want.
For now, I’m hoping you’re in a good space and can take this good feeling with you into your day, or night, whenever you’re listening to this.
Thanks for taking a moment to be in the moment. Stay mindful.
Can you be mindful in every situation? It’s possible, but sometimes it’s challenging, especially when you are emotionally charged. To be mindful takes practice. It doesn’t just turn on and you’re ready to go, it involves training your brain to switch to a mindful place instead of a judgmental or emotionally triggered place.
It won’t be easy if you’re not used to it, but as you get used to it, it becomes easy. And, it’s very beneficial. You will be less reactive and more proactive. When you’re mindful, you’re in the moment, highly observant and aware. You’re more adaptable and can respond more consciously and in the interest of everyone instead of just yourself.
Mindfulness is a practice, and will improve your stress levels, your brain function and memory retention the more you do it. It also means there is less drama in your life because you are more aware of what’s going on and not so wrapped up in all the made up scenarios we all tend to plant into our brains.
Step into your power and be firm in your decisions and actions, so that you can create the life you want. When you do this, you’ll discover what I already know to be true about you, that you are amazing.
Know yourself, and don’t always look for what’s next. Sometimes we think we know something so we move on to the next thing. We chase knowledge. This isn’t a bad thing, as I love learning. But know yourself first, then know the next thing.
I’m still getting to know myself. And the more I get to know myself, the more I figure out what I resonate with most. The hobbies I like and the people I need just seem to appear because I took the time to be with me.
Sometimes just being with yourself for a few minutes a day gives you ideas and allows you to reflect on things without anyone directly or indirectly influencing you.
Something I like to practice every now and then is to pretend that no one had the ability to influence my decisions but me. What would I do differently? How would I feel?
That’s a neat exercise, because we are all influenced by other people, even when they aren’t in the room. Think about what you do and if what you do is influenced by anyone else. It’s not a bad thing to be influenced, this is just practice, as this entire episode was: Practice.
Get a mindful of yourself without influence for a few minutes and experience what it’s like. Then come back to the world with the rest of us and bring a little something extra back with you. Who knows, maybe you’ll understand something a little bit better than you used to.