To be in the Here and Now, to find balance.
Why now? Taking one’s time is the first challenge on the path to inner harmony. It’s tempting, after all, to give up before we’re really getting off the ground. This is natural. It seems totally counter-intuitive to slow down when our brain and busy schedule tell us the opposite, but a calm mind is actually far better suited for taking on our daily challenges. The key is simple: just give yourself permission to explore the new possibility of making space for stillness.
If mindfulness is to become a part of our normal way of being, it has to help nurture us and simplify our lives. It can’t be yet another thing demanding our time.
Achieving harmony doesn’t have to be something we dream about. I learned something quite surprising when I started on my journey to mindfulness – there really are countless opportunities to engage this way of being. The secret was within me.
The secret is within you, too. Where? Think about the senses. Think about scent, the often-overlooked gateway to the other senses. It is always available. It is a direct passageway to holding our mind’s attention. For centuries, the pure essences of botanicals have helped us in our journey toward mindfulness – frankincense, myrrh, cedar, lavender and sage can ground, cleanse, center and expand our awareness.
Curious? Hesitant? Resistant? I invite you, wherever you are right now, to just explore. Find the aroma of a natural essence that you would like to linger with. Now, releasing any judgement, invite yourself to pause, inhale and nudge your awareness to explore your senses.
Gradually expand your awareness to your surroundings and the sound of your breath. Draw in your navel, let out your breath, expand your belly. Breathe in and observe. Engage one by one with your senses and let your attention focus lightly on each one – the sounds, the smells, the feeling of the air on your skin, cooling and warming. Find the sensations that are neutral or most pleasing to you.
Now close your eyes and take five cycles of unhurried breath, letting yourself savor the sensation of breath. Once you have engaged with this process, let yourself pause for a moment. Send a little mental hug of gratitude inside your heart.