Only that day dawns to which we are fully awake.
-Henry David Thoreau
What does it mean to be mindful? It is asking yourself, what are you doing? and why are you doing it?
"Once years ago in China, a young monk asked his Zen master, "What is enlightenment? What is it like for you?" The master replied, "What I eat, I eat. What I sleep, I sleep." (source: Awakening the Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das, pg. 298).
To be mindful can have many interpretations, but for me, it's about being aware of everything I am doing at each moment. Too often, I feel as if I am living, but not. Too often, I am going through the motions, my mind is scattered and distracted and any brief moments of peace are fleeting, as such is everything in this life. I want to be more fully present--more aware. Why? I want to embrace my life and taste it! I want to breathe and feel the energies of the earth, and to understand the interconnectedness of all life; to be nicer to people!! Empathy. I'm not going all new-age on you guys, I'm simply being honest.
You see, there are a lot of paths my life can take, and for the past couple of years, I had a lot of it planned out. I'm an RN. I am in love. I will get married, and have children. I want to travel. I "plan" on all of these things, but have not left enough room for the occurrences that are not scheduled.
Over a month ago, Angela of ohsheglows.com wrote a post asking her readers: What are the things you want to do but you aren’t sure they have a practical purpose?
I knew immediately my answer, but more importantly, the question stayed with me. I cursed life and it's stupid social standards of making life into a cookie-cutter schedule. If there was something in life that I felt was calling to me, then why should I let anything hold me back?!
We come up with so many excuses, mainly related to time and money. But I realized that these are all a facade. If there is something you truly want to do in life, you will find a way to make the time, or find the money, or whatever obstacle may seemingly be in the way. It sounds like a no-brainer; we all know this fact, but do we truly live that truth? I know I probably don't...or didn't.
And that is why...I am taking the next step to be more mindful in my life and to truly live.
Starting January 2011, I will be enrolling in Yoga Teacher Training.
This is something I've wanted for a long time now. The deposit is paid! And I'll be starting a bit early through completing workshops and classes.
Also in January, I plan to begin graduate school. I want to focus on preventive care, and yoga fits into that.
I'm also going to be taking some painting classes this fall...for fun! I'm thrilled. I have no experience in art, but the other day while boycotting social media , I yearned for something to get the creative juices flowing. So much of my life is spent on structured activities, like work, exercise, eating, and blogging! I'll be approaching paint class with an open, non-judgemental mind! I cannot criticize myself with this. I need to let it all flow...
In order to be more mindful, I need to stop MINDLESSLY eating. Since training for a triathlon and going vegetarian, I have gained weight. It's all good, but I wonder why? I don't think I gained muscle. I suppose I just ate more because I thought I was doing more cardio and it would all even out. It could also be that I am now 25, and can no longer eat whatever I want without batting an eye. waaah! Too many desserts, people. Not enough strength training. Well, I need to be more mindful of my eating and what the hell I am shoveling into my mouth. I love food. And I love a good dessert and treat. I won't give that up or restrict myself, but I am going to be more aware of it all and respect my body more. I will be asking myself, "what am I really craving?" before I mindlessly stuff myself with chocolate cake...sometimes, the answer may just be CHOCOLATE CAKE, but I will ask the question...
This leads me to the triathlon eating plan. Eat, sleep, hydrate, PEACE.
This afternoon, I made a lovely tempeh stir fry...
Enjoyed some Sencha green tea...
And I am trying to kick my addiction to "all natural" SKIPPY (loyal lifetime eater) to something that actually is natural...
And although I'm still skeptical, I've been taking these vitamins the past month, and I have seen a noticeable increase in my nail length and strength...hmph. They're made from food, not synthetic. And they don't turn your urine fluorescent yellow, which is nice.
Do you have a theme for the next year or 2011? What are you doing right now in life to ensure you're truly living?