Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Reminder to be Mindful (AGAIN)

"MINDFULNESS = Moment-to-moment, non-judgmental attention." --Unknown

It is often said that the spiritual journey is like peeling away the layers of an onion. You peel off one layer and you feel so good, so "done," only to realize that you have many more layers to go and - yep - there's a lot of yucky crap and bad habits and low vibe behavior in this layer too. Darn it! And then sometimes something from two or three layers back sneaks up on you and you think, "How'd THAT get in here?!"

This week I found myself doing something I used to do a lot, but haven't done lately and it surprised me.

On Monday I went swimming as usual and there weren't very many people at the pool so I had the slow lane all to myself. It was glorious - for ten to twelve laps - until not just one, but two people joined my lane. Crap!

I immediately started whining and hating on them. "Why'd they have to join MY lane? Oh look at her, she doesn't know what she's doing - why'd she wait and then slip in just in front of me. Oh great, now she's using the kick board, that'll slow things down for sure." And on and on and on. Just a constant flow of criticism. Yuck.

Finally I realized what I was doing and I stopped. I got curious. Why was I doing this?

The answer, of course, is because I was really enjoying having the lane to myself. I liked not having to adjust my speed or choose my strokes based on what anyone else was doing. It was nice. And, now it was time to let that go because that was no longer my reality.

After that I had a thought that changed everything: I bet I have more in common with these women than not. I started to notice - and to list - everything I had in common with them - we are all swimmers, we are all women, we are all "easy" swimmers in a pool full of faster swimmers, we are all brunettes.

As soon as I started listing the things we had in common I realized, wow, if we were to meet outside of the pool I would probably really like these women. So I decided to like them. And once I decided to like them, I didn't mind sharing the lane with them at all.

I am sure neither of them noticed anything different about me (or had any idea what was going on inside my head earlier), but to me it felt like the energy of our lane completely shifted and was a much more pleasant place to be. I hope they felt it too.

Our minds are such powerful tools that we so often use for evil (at least I do) when with just a little bit of mindfulness, we can use them for good.

Can you think of a situation in your life in which you can use your mind + mindfulness to change things for the better?

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