I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I don’t think that there is ever a date where you “start fresh” per se. After all the person who you are on December 31st is STILL the same person who you’ll be on January 1st. To me, I think if you want to achieve something, you should just start doing it NOW. Besides, most of the ‘resolutions’ made each year are really lifestyle changes and involve depth, understanding, reasoning, and time, which are all strung together with mindfulness.
Mindfulness. It’s a lovely word isn’t it? The way it just rolls off your tongue and comes out almost like a lyric in a song, sung in harmony of different notes, beats, words and sounds but yet stands on its own and projects out clearly even if heard by a foreigner with no knowledge of the language or the word.
I know you’re wondering how do lifestyle changes and mindfulness really relate to one other but I ask that you please bear with me and keep reading for as Common once pointed out, “One Day It’ll All Make Sense”. 😉
I have found that choosing to be more mindful has made me a better friend, coworker, sister, daughter and that it has made my interactions with the people around me, happier and better. Although I’m far from perfect (but then again, who isn’t?) I still choose to practice mindfulness in my every day life to the best of my abilities – from basic errands, responsibilities, work life, to all forms of dealings and communications with people both in my professional and personal life. So instead of giving you a dictionary definition of what being mindful means, I’m going to give you some examples instead. Of course this being my own interpretation, I welcome any and all opinions!
Being mindful is keeping your word or clearly communicating when you cannot. Example: You make plans with your friend on Thursday to hang out on Sunday afternoon. You both agree to spending time at your place. Sunday afternoon comes around and there is no sign of, or word from your ‘friend’. You contact them only for them to tell you ‘I can’t make it down – I’m stuck doing something and cannot leave.’ Mindful action in this scenario would have been your friend letting YOU know as soon as they knew that they wouldn’t be able to make it without you having to contact them to ask if they’re still coming. A mindful reaction is you letting that person know that your standard of friendship requires them to respect you and your time by letting you know of the change in plans as soon as it happens. (Another example of this is you speaking to a friend on the phone and you having to get off the phone, telling them that you’ll phone them back and then you don’t. Your friend has every right to be upset and not speak to you – after all, if it was a business deal, you’d go somewhere else right?)
Being mindful is also keeping it real. Example: There are only a few words that I can say I hate hearing or being addressed by. One of them is short form of honey – ‘hun‘ – which in my personal opinion not only sucks as a ‘word’ in the way that it’s said or used, but it’s also very overused and often comes off as fake. So, I cringe anytime anyone calls me ‘hun‘ and I’ve made it a point to let my friends know that I hate being addressed as such and for them to refrain from using it. Now when I tell my friends that – my real friends – they refrain from addressing me that way. Hence they are mindful of my feelings by not addressing me as ‘hun‘ and I’m being mindful by telling them how I want to be treated, rather addressed by them.
Being mindful is being open-minded and accepting of another person, making them feel good about being themselves around you. I am sure you can pick from a slew of situations you’ve experienced where this applies. In the end we end up being around people who we feel comfortable being ourselves around without feeling that we are judged. This includes friends, family, and those who we have intimate relationships with. Of course this is a two-way street as no one is going to be comfortable being around someone who is constantly criticizing you and making you feel bad about yourself.
Being mindful is also encouraging and being supportive of someone’s passions. Example: I’ve started doing spoken word events where I actually get up in front of people, on a mic, and recite my own poetry. It means so much to me when my friends send me messages of encouragement or good luck. It gives my performance more confidence and makes me feel good knowing that they want me to succeed. They’re being mindful by taking the time to simply send me that message.
There are many ways of being mindful but I’ll leave room for you to think about things that are important to you and to those around you. Instead I’ll leave you with this:
Mindfulness is kind of like your mother who took the time to do laundry on the weekend so that you have clean clothes to wear for school on Monday – mindfulness is another expression of love. It’s also kind of like your grandmother who disciplines you when you start acting out while she’s taking care of you – it sets a standard on how to treat and speak to others while teaching you that you must set your own standards on the way you allow others to treat and speak to you. Mindfulness is also kind of like your father who took you on a trip to an orphanage and showed you how other kids live – it makes you more aware of others and gives you a different perspective on life. Most importantly, mindfulness is kind of like your spouse – it’s a choice.
Mindfulness is so many different things but it laces together truth, honesty, integrity, communication, standards, respect, love, support and care. It makes us grow as people, it makes us feel good and it makes others who we interact with also feel good! Mindfulness….can we just try it?
“We achieve mindfulness when reality takes precedence over our ego.”~David Richo (from his book “How to be an Adult in Relationships – The Five Keys to Mindful Loving)