Mindfulness can be a very powerful tool and it can be done anytime, anywhere. Mindfulness is about having awareness. Awareness of the things around you for instance, or your inner emotional state. Mindfulness is not about changing anything, such as your emotions or the situation. It is also not about being peaceful or relaxed, it is simply about being aware of the present moment whatever that may bring. However, once you are more fully aware, mindfulness can be the catalyst from which changes can be made. Again, though, mindfulness is not about changing anything. This can be the difficult part of mindfulness, of being painfully aware of the negative and difficult things.
One of my favorite mindfulness practices is participation mindfulness. This is when you fully and completely participate in doing something. You do what is necessary at that moment, nothing more and nothing less. Participate in the moment you are actually in, not the one you were in or want to be in…just the one that is. A great example of participation mindfulness is playing sports. You have to attend only the moment unfolding before you, not the next play or the plays that have been, it would never work. You participate in the moment in both body and mind. If you are not mindful at this time you risk missing the ball completely. Or if you are worried about making your grocery list while playing your sport you will be ineffective at both playing the game and making the list…time and energy wasted.
Unfortunately, it is so easy for us to slip into the future and have things we constantly worry about. In the mean time you are not really participating in the present and possibly missing out of valuable experiences. It’s the same if you spend your time replaying over and over again, an argument with your significant other, you miss out on a lot. So whether it be playing sports, sitting with a difficult emotion, spending time with you kids, or participating in a conversation I encourage you to continue to practice participation mindfulness and enter fully into the experience of the moment. Good luck!