Welcome to our Mindful Monday Blog Post,
I’m glad you stopped by to read this post as mindfulness techniques have helped me in so many ways and I would like to share some of these techniques with you.
Growing up I was a competitive athlete and was always busy with training or schoolwork. Every moment of my day was planned. As a child with all the energy in the world, it never really affected me, at least not at the time. Enter the era of University. I took these old habits and continued scheduling every minute of my day (I was working two part time jobs, was taking full time academic studies to complete a double major with honours and in my down time I attended 10 dance classes a week to train for auditions to become a professional contemporary dancer) but never left time to relax and practice self-care. I don’t think I knew what mindfulness was. My life was chaotic, always rushing from one place to the next (I literally used to run through downtown Toronto from my contemporary class at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre to The National Ballet School because I had 10 minutes between classes). I was living life, but living it unconsciously, not aware of the moments that were passing me by, the opportunities I was missing because I was not present and mindful. I felt out of control, overwhelmed and exhausted all the time. My body and mind eventually started to break down.
I continued living this way many years after the completion of my degree at The School of Dance in Ottawa. A couple of years ago, my brother asked me over dinner “How many nodes do you have in your life?” I said “nodes?” He then explained to me that these were things that were “priorities” in my life. I had four jobs, a relationship, trying to keep up with friends. In the end I had 8 (and I didn’t include myself). Way too much for one person to handle without breaking down mentally and physically, and at this point I was broken and desperate for a resolution. I was in such bad shape I didn’t enjoy anything. I just went through the motions.
After graduating from the Professional Contemporary Dance Program I decided to explore Yoga and enrolled in my first 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training. This program is where I started my journey to a more mindful life. I learned ways to be kinder to myself, to listen to what my body was telling me, to control my anxiety, reduce my stress, and slow down. Until recently I don’t think I was successful, and I’m still working on it. I am currently down to 5 nodes now (and I am now one of them) and I could not be happier. It’s a life-long process. It’s a practice!
One of the resources I found helpful in the starting my path to living better was a book “Wherever You Go There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. He offers little ways to easily infuse mindfulness and meditation into our everyday lives and I would like to share one of these with you and challenge you to try it out and see what you may experience. Everyone’s experience is unique. Be kind, don’t judge yourself, just be aware, and present.
“Try: Stopping, sitting down, and becoming aware of your breathing once in a while throughout the day. It can be for five minutes, or even five seconds. Let go into full acceptance of the present moment, including how you are feeling, and what you perceive to be happening. For these moments, don’t try to change anything at all, just breathe and let go. Breathe and let be. Let go of the feeling of having to have anything be different in this moment; in your mind and in your heart, give yourself permission to allow this moment to be as it is, and you to be exactly as you are. Then, when you are ready, move in the direction your heart tells you to go, mindfully and with resolution (Jon Kabat-Zinn, 1994).”