If you are like me, you live in a world of distraction. Multiple things have the potential of distracting us from what we intend to do. For example, you may be one of those people who logs into the internet with the intention to look for something that would take few minutes, and then go back to what you were doing. However, what may happen? You start clicking on ads you see, articles, or images, and instead of being on the internet for 15 minutes, you stayed for an hour! This action distracted you from what was important and took precious time from your work; your family; your life.
I would say it is the information overload syndrome and most of us, from time to time, suffer from it.
Another distraction you may encounter is when you are watching the news or a program on TV. Suddenly, a pop up of an upcoming program, shows up. You intend to focus on the program, however, the breaking news announcement appears at the bottom of the screen. We find ourselves looking at different sources of information at the same time.
What about when you are with your family or exercising at the gym (having some me-time), and suddenly your phone starts beeping. You are either receiving a text, a message on WhatsApp, or a message on Facebook. We are constantly bombarded with distractions, and my theory is that, because of this distraction we are suffering, the need for being present in our lives has increased. The need of paying attention has augmented. The need to take a break has become imperative. This sense of being overwhelmed has created the need to embrace mindfulness which has become almost a movement. It is becoming part of our culture because it promises what we need the most…to be present in our lives. It teaches us to be present in what we are doing; to be present with our thoughts; with the people we love.
The idea of mindfulness is not a modern concept. It started with Gautama Buddha 2,500 years ago. I remember when I taught World Religions at the University, each time we talked about Buddhism and the concept of mindfulness, it was a challenging notion for my students to embrace because they loved to be distracted. They just loved to be doing multiple things at the same time. I remember telling one of my students, that the next time he lifted weights at the gym, to go lighter and paid attention to the effort of his muscles. The next time he came to class, he said, Professor Houben you were right! I dropped the weight and lifted slower, and my biceps were so sore! So, this concept of living mindfully can be applied to many things, including exercising, eating, and conversing.
Now, how can you apply mindfulness to other matters such as experiencing a health issue, feeling physical pain, or grieving? It is natural, when we are facing a challenging situation, to resist it or try to ignore it. However, it doesn’t make it disappear. We cannot escape grieving. We all grieve over one loss or another and what we need to learn is how to manage our grief. One of the meditations I will start doing at The Center for Transforming Lives once a month, will be on “Mindful Grieving” and it will be for any loss: the loss of a loved one; a breakup; a challenging change in your life that is making you feel lost and sad. It will help you go to that space and connect with your grief. Once you do that, you can release it, and bring some peace to your heart.
In case you are interested to know about the origin of Mindfulness, we will also be having a talk on Mindfulness from East to West. I will be doing this workshop with Susan D’Agostino, RN, a certified Mindfulness teacher on September 2nd. 2017.
Mindfulness: Health and Wellness with Susan D’Agostino R.N. & Ligia M. Houben
Now, take this moment to be mindful and connect with your inner self. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath, and pay attention to how you feel. Throughout the day, take a pause and pay attention to that moment and notice how you feel. This practice will help you be in touch with your emotions consciously. I will ask you to take a step further. Observe your thoughts (without judging them); this will also give you information about the effect they have on your emotions. It is just a simple practice that can make a huge change in your life.
Remember…your life has meaning.
Ligia M. Houben
Speaker, Author, Grief Expert & Life Coach