Everyday Mindfulness: Remembering Why We’re Here
“The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment, and feeling truly alive.” —Thich Nhat Hanh
“I celebrate myself and sing myself . . . for every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” —Walt Whitman
Remember when you were a small child? If you lived in a place where the seasons changed, summer days likely seemed endless, fall meant brisk winds with piles of bright leaves to toss high in the air, and winter snowstorms brought deep snow for outdoor adventures like sledding, snowball fights, and building snow forts. Regardless of the season, playing with friends and being outside were probably top priorities. Remember the things that bothered you at a young age: People who were mean (name-calling, yelling, or hitting); seeing someone not being treated fairly; and the loss of pets or loved ones.
As adults, we sometimes feel overwhelmed by the minutia in our lives: paying bills, co-worker disputes, household chores, family obligations, job demands, family-church-neighborhood squabbles, minor illnesses, repairs or upgrades for the numerous gadgets we own, misunderstandings, confusion, worry, stress, and so on. It’s so easy to forget what really matters and to overlook the simple things that bring us joy.
Sometimes a crisis puts life in perspective for us. Other times, children, friends, or a partner remind us of the purpose we serve.
Place your hand over your heart and ask: What is it I’m meant to do with my brief time on this planet? What have I learned? What are my dreams? When we slow down our breathing, quiet our mental chatter, and step away from our hectic schedules, we can more easily hear the gentle longings of our heart.
Everyday mindfulness is one way to stay on a meaningful path, rather than continually getting “side-tracked” by endless distractions. We can become more mindful by: taking three deep breaths during stressful moments; paying attention to our thoughts; recognizing the mental grooves we frequently visit; noticing how our body feels when we pause to simply breathe; letting go and releasing that which does not serve our wellbeing; saying thank you for small daily miracles.
At the end of our lives, only we will know if we appreciated all that we were given. Only we will know if we accomplished our mission—which may not have anything to do with our careers or the work that pays our bills. Our true purpose might be to see better the mental blinders inhibiting our growth. Our true purpose might be to use our gifts to bring more awareness to the planet: Awareness of the connection between the poisons in our food, water, air, and earth and the diseases in our bodies; awareness of the connection between chronic stress and illness; awareness of the connection between inner peace and peace in the world. Our true purpose might be to heal emotional wounds and break generational cycles of violence. Our true purpose might be to practice kindness, practice forgiveness, and practice peaceful living so we can share a calm presence with our families and our communities. Our true purpose might be to embrace our divine spark of inner beauty: that magnificent essence of joy, generosity, and love that resides in us all.
What helps you remember why you are here?
Take some time this month to play, to relax, to sing, to walk outside, to sit in the sun, to listen to music, to dance, and to laugh. Marianne Williamson says, “We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. … We are all meant to shine, as children do.”
Your presence here is a gift. Listen to your heart. Listen to the wind. Listen to the birds. Listen to the soft whispers of Spirit. See the world through the eyes of a small child: with wonder, awe, and excitement.
The Universe sings its welcome to you each new day.
In joy & gratitude,
Diana J. Ensign
I will be discussing my book, “Traveling Spirit: Daily Tools for Your Life’s Journey,” as a guest on “Journeys Fire” with Richard Brendan. The radio program will air on Sunday, November 22, at noon EST on 88.7 fm, WICR. It will be podcast 24/7 for a full week at www.richardbrendan.org. Join me!