Move Into Mindfulness

by Buffy Owens

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I have often been asked, “What brought you to this practice.” My honest answer? The proper amount of dysfunction and an eternal search for freedom! Yes, like most people I began this journey with my personal history on my back and the ity-bity-shiddy-committee standing in solidarity at my side. Eager to escapes the weight and noise, I began with desperate faith to ‘find a way’ OUT.

Most of us live in the presence of a habitual mind that dominates our experience and our life. My own experience with becoming more mindful was truly uncomfortable. My committee was in full force and every single thought seemed to echo in my physical being. I was amazed to find out how my perception and my sensation was completely ruled by unconscious conditioning. I decided very early on that working directly with my mind through mindfulness and meditation, was just as important as working with the history trapped in my physiology—this I did (and do) through awareness and movement.

What I quickly realized is that taking time for my own mindful hygiene not only changed my life but changed the lives around me. And that ity-bity-committee, well they didn’t go away but they are a little kinder now.

Throughout our day we can pause, take a break from our usual thoughts, and wake up to the magic and vastness of the world around us.
— Pema Chödrön

Six Ways to Move Into Daily Mindfulness

  1. When You Awake: Sense Your Senses
    Listen as if you just arrived on the planet. Every sound is brand new, coming straight from the heart of the mystery. Look with your eyes closed. Sense the light coming through the flesh of your eyelids, see it get brighter as you attend to your sense of sight. Feel, as if for the first time—the texture of the sheets, the coolness of the air, the heat of your partner. Come into that proverbial sense of yourself. Scanning yourself with your sensations from the soles of your feet up and through to the top of your head.

  2. With Your Child: Create a Mindful Ritual
    There are many ways you can create conscious time with your child. If you familiar with the RIE Method, you are already on your way. They recommend utilizing everyday activities like changing diapers and feeding What is important is that you create the time and space to be mindful with your child each day, in whatever way is meaningful for you.
  3. In Every Day Tasks: Find the Power of Three
    As an adult, there are lots and lots of places in life that invite a pause or give you a chance to explore just one thing. Stop lights, grocery lines, going to the toilet, brushing your teeth. You get my drift. If life gives you a pause…play with it. Take a moment to sense yourself:  your breath, your thoughts, how your moving or posturing. Then take a moment to play with yourself. Can you find three other ways to do the task at hand? Maybe shift your intention, your focus, or explore one sensation at a time. Brushing your teeth? Try using your other hand. Simply waiting in line? Find three ways to shift your weight.
  4. On The Road:  Think “HOLY HORIZON!” 
    That’s right, shift your gaze! The horizon is a beautiful thing. So the next time you are out and about take a moment to look past the cars, down the street, over hills, and into the horizon. Notice how just shifting where you look changes the way you sit, transforms your breath, and expands your internal sensations.
  5. When You Fade: Investigate Your Distraction
    As one of my Feldenkrais Teachers said:” if you’re on board, you’re just not paying attention!” Okay, so sometimes we check-out because we are just too full. If that’s the case thank your wise nervous system and carry on. But notice it.  Give some attention to when it happens. Are you in unfamiliar territory? What’s going on with you physically? Do you have a stance or movement pattern that you assume every time you check out or fade away?
  6. When You Experience a Negative Emotion or Physical Pain: Play the Name Game
    As an adult, chances are the way you experience your reality is through language. So why not go with the flow. Every feeling generates a sensation — that lump in your throat, the butterflies in your stomach, the empty experience in your belly.  Allow the sensations to come to you. Then speak the truth to yourself, plain and simple, about what is happening. Some of the things you may be able to name are tingles, warmth, coolness, pressure, restlessness, agitation, throbbing, tickles, aches, tightness, tenderness, or sharp pain. Stay with the sensations just for a moment or two, naming all the different sensations you are experiencing. Notice, what does shining the light of awareness shift?

Okay, now because I am who I am with the practices I have, I must make two more recommendations.

  1. First, find a way to start doing a little bit of Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement each week. Join a class, locally or online. Learning with other is important. Having a community of like-minded people is important!
  2. Second, start a meditation practice. Even 5 minutes a day can add up over time. So no excuses…take five and thrive! Better yet, have a local mediation group? If so expand your daily 5 to include sitting with others once a week or once a month. Their practice will help support yours. Promise.

Well that’s all for now folks. If you have any feedback I would LOVE to hear it. If you have a daily mindful practice of you own, please share it.