I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy”-
Saunter into your local yoga studio and undoubtedly you will inundated with talk about – Mindfulness.
Why is this so? Primarily due to the images of relaxation, stillness, or acting in some idealistic way that mindfulness provides us in this atmosphere. Most yogi’s and mindfulness “practitioners” operate under the assumption that mindfulness, means continually being calm, serene and in control of your surrounding, even as the lady next to you in class rolls out her mat inches away from your perfectly oriented to the East sacred space. It’s because of this, that a mindfulness practice often feels as though we are failing in life, it erodes our personal sense of self-worth. Breaking News – Life is hard enough without aiming to be mindful and perfect all the damn time. Mindfulness, to me, is not a quest for perfection.
My mindfulness practice revolves around a well-known and often forgotten aspect about “life” – Life itself is deeply unpredictable. To translate the last statement into laymen terms – Life sucks most of the time, imperfection is the norm, and perfectionism will only lead you down a dark path. It’s how we live with and balance these hardships, that influences our moment-to-moment, mindful well-being. Even while practicing mindfulness, I can’t for the life of me, pay attention for an extended period of time. You know what most easily distracts me? It’s not the blonde hair or being a dude, or some new person in class … Its my own mind. I’m continually lost in my thoughts yet again, even right now. Yet, I bring myself back to the moment, even while dropping a screw fixing my bike or forgetting someones name I just met.
Many yogis’ or whatever, shroud themselves in the serious of a mindfulness practice, what’s lost is our collective sense of humor. Our minds often do what they want without us, if you can, look around during class and notice the stern faces and the concentration poured into being “mindful.” I often find myself spending an awful lot of effort aiming for something not fully attainable during class, during life. Mindfulness and a healthy dose of perfectionism only serve to make me feel worse about myself. The secret ingredient that is missing? A heartfelt smile and a sense of humility.
Shit happens in life, I make a mess of things a dozen or more times during the day. Mindfulness allows me to find comfort and humility in the midst of a crazy life. There’s no perfect mindfulness practice – Just you. I’m flawed and so is everyone else, but when you aim for improvement, instead of perfection? Everyone smiles.
Never to suffer would never to have been blessed-
There’s something deeply ingrained between our ears, that believes if “something” is hard to do, takes us out of our comfort zone or doesn’t come naturally, it’s better to avoid “it” at all costs.
It took me quite a few years to have the proverbial light bulb go on, although I am confident in saying now that virtually everything which creates positive results and change in our lives, will be hard to do. Better yet – Some things will always be hard to get ourselves to do … Coconut water and staying up late on a weeknight instantly come to mind?!?
Thinking out loud this morning after completing the grueling Big Ring Ranch Enduro this past Sunday – It’s a strange phenomenon that our lives seem to ebb and flow with a natural current toward what we don’t want, toward what will make our lives miserable. Much like its easier to sit on the couch, being programmed by mindless TV shows, than it is to spend quality time with a loved one, a close friend, or heaven forbid – To enjoy the richness that only comes when we read a book. We simply stop stimulating our mind and spirit, enriching our lives – Going with the flow.
I’m an expert when it comes to hanging out and doing nothing after a long day at work. Packing it in rather than getting up to do something that could be considered productive, such as helping my Son with his homework or going for a bike ride with him. It’s easier to pick up some fast food, turn on the TV and worry about homework in the morning. This is something I need to work on.
My only way to combat this natural ebb and flow is to be determined to swim against the current. I deeply cherish nurturing relationships, whether the person is sitting next to me eating Cheerios, or in some far off land.
I can’t sit back ant wait for my Son to do it, or anyone else for that matter. Yet, sadly … Many people won’t, as they unconsciously go with the flow of – Drifting apart.
*Join us “Dudes” tomorrow evening in Lincoln for the start of Star City CX series*