Mindfulness always has been a challenge for me because I tend to get easily distracted by drama of one sort or another. Drama is fine for creative writing, but not so good when it gets into one’s personal life and occupies way too much brain space. So I’ve tried reminding myself to just be here—to focus on where I am. That never seemed to work quite right for me, though, because (especially when I was at home) I couldn’t manage to unbundle the word “here” from all of my place-memories and associated thoughts. Instead of centering me in the present, the word “here” evoked images of a gallery filled with Ghosts of Here Past.
I recently tried another focusing phrase, “what is now,” and to my surprise, I felt immediately calmer and more centered. Even though the words don’t look all that different when written down, they feel much more concrete to me, stripping away the usual mental chatter and leaving only simple objects and physical sensations. In the future I’ll keep in mind that because we all process language differently and have so many personal connotations attached to each word, finding the right phrase to set forth a thought can take some time and perseverance. So instead of being impatient when something isn’t quite right, we should be gentler and more forgiving toward ourselves and others, in recognition of the fact that we are all works in progress.
Even though it is still cold and icy here in Ohio, I’ve heard birds chirping cheerfully for the past few days, as if they can feel that spring is on its way. I took this photograph of ice on bare bushes yesterday; the branches seem just a bit brighter than they had been, and the afternoon sunlight stronger, as if sending a quiet message that the seasons are changing as they always do.
Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.