Practicing mindfulness is the antidote to so much that makes us suffer. Things are difficult for many of us, it's true. Change is in the air, and we're feeling the uncertainty in the world. Kids who are going back to school aren't sure of their place in the new classrooms and year. We are all unsure of what will happen with this strange election cycle.
If you, like me, are unsettled by the uncertainty and difficulty in the world, join me in being mindful of your body. Begin just sitting as you are and get very still. Feel the stillness spread through your entire body until not a muscle is moving on purpose. Notice the movement that does still happen, the gentle movement of your breath, perhaps the beating of your heart. That's all, let that be the center of your world for a bit.
And then notice your feet. Feel them. Feel what they are touching--the floor or your socks or each other. Stay with that sensation for a minute. And then begin to notice the inside of your feet, can you feel it? With each breath, imagine that you are breathing into those feet, aware of them and feeling whatever they feel on the inside. Just be those feet for a bit.
Then move your awareness into your legs, noticing how they feel. Notice the places where your legs touch something. And then breathe in, feeling the inner sensations of your legs, Be aware of these legs, just resting here and feeling what they feel.
After a few minutes, bring your awareness to your hips, noticing the sensation of pressure from sitting and any other surface sensations. Notice internal sensations--whatever you feel in your muscles and tendons, the pressure or tightness or heaviness. Breathe into it all for a bit.
Then notice your belly. Is it moving when you breathe? Just be aware of that. Can you feel anything on the surface--your shirt or the warmth of your skin? Is your belly tight or relaxed? Feel whatever it feels like, no need to change or control anything, just be aware of what you actually feel right now.
Your chest, rising and falling with each breath. Aware of the sensations, open to your chest exactly as it is. Surrendering to this actual moment in your body.
And feeling your shoulders and arms, starting with whatever they are touching--your sides, the back of the chair you are sitting on, the air. Feel the inside of your shoulders and arms, just breathing into them.
Notice your neck and throat. Feeling your skin and the surface sensations. Feeling your throat and the internal sensations. Just feeling it for now.
And your face and head. Breathing in, aware of the breath moving through your nose and mouth. Feeling your jaw, your cheeks, your eyes and the muscles around your eyes. Aware of how your face feels. And noticing your whole head.
Continuing to breathe, let yourself notice your whole body. Feel pressure where you are in contact with your chair or cushion. Open to your body as it is right now, accepting its sensations just as they are. Just breathe for a bit, aware of your whole body. Imagine just appreciating this body for a bit, breathing in aware of this body, breathing out gratitude for this body.
When you're ready, allow your body to stretch a bit and notice how you feel. Come back to regular attention and go on with your day.
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness helps me find peace with my imperfect journey--being with myself as I truly am, loving my family as they are, and showing up for a messy world with openness and compassion.