In this very moment, take a look at where you are. Take a look at what you are doing. Take a look at who is around you. Take a look at the thoughts going through your mind. Be aware of everything in your external AND your internal surroundings. Now take a deep breath in. As you exhale, breathe out the words Thank you and imagine sending these words as a kind, heart-felt message to everything in your external surroundings. Now do this two more times; once for your internal surroundings, thanking yourself for your breath, your heart beat, your abilities of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch, then once more for everything inside and outside of you. ~Now smile!~ You've just completed an exercise in mindfulness and being present.
What does it mean to be present?
What does it mean to be mindful?
What does it mean to just BE?
These are questions that we typically do not focus on from day to day. So, even better than making an attempt to provide an answer of some sort, I invite you to experience what it means to you to be present, be mindful, and just BE. Here are a few tips on how to get started:
Step 1: Atten-Hut!
Sit on the last half or 2/3 of your chair so that you back does not touch the support behind you. Place both feet flat on the floor and directly under your knees. Straighten your back from the bottom of your tailbone to the crown of your head. Finally, rest your hands on your lower abdomen, one on top of the other.
Step 2: Breathe.
Slowly and evenly take a deep breath in and push your belly into your hands and notice your abdomen expanding in all directions. Hold this breath for a brief second and then continue by exhaling out at the same speed you inhaled. Notice your hands and your abdomen returning to their original positions.
Step 3: Close Your Eyes.
Let your eyes relax and slightly lower about 20-30 degrees to look at the ground in front of you. Then close your eyes and begin to focus only on your breath and the natural movement of your abdomen. After you complete a few breaths, you should begin to feel more relaxed. At this point, you should begin to let your breath fill your whole body, almost as if you are breathing with every inch of yourself, not just your lungs.
Bonus Step: Take a Look Around.
Once you feel confident with the first three steps, begin focusing on the bottom of your feet. Feel every inch of your feet relax and spread out on the floor as you continue to feel your breath move throughout your entire body, especially the bottom of your feet. This will help you to feel more grounded and stable in the present moment so that you do not fly away into every thought that enters your mind and attempts to overtake you.
"Always say 'yes' to the present moment... Surrender to what is. Say 'yes' to life - and see how life starts suddenly working for you rather than against you."
To understand what it means to be present, mindful, and just BE, you must experience it first. Practice these steps every day for at least five to ten minutes, and then notice what you feel. Has there been a change after one week? How about even one day? Being present, whether you are a beginner at it or make it look effortless, we must all remember it is not just another exercise to be added to your daily list of things to do. Begin by making it a routine, something you won't forget, and something that is important to you. Then, and only then, will you be closer to remembering what it was like to just be here and now. After all, if you cannot allow yourself to be present, what makes you think everything else around you will be?
If you need more guidance on being present or mindful, please contact us at (202) 505-2805 for a Mindfulness Jump-Start Session to help you on your journey towards a more relaxed and present you.
Enjoy this Video from "60 Minutes" on Mindfulness with Anderson Cooper & Jon Kabat-Zinn
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