Joy in Now: /Mindfulness/

Mindfulness, I would have had a completely different interpretation of this word until recently. Being attentive and aware of actions and behaviors would have come to mind in a fairly impersonal definition of the word, had I been asked a couple of months ago. It has taken on a much deeper meaning and made a true and positive impact in my life, after hearing of some ideas from the book, The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM).

It has added something new to early mornings around our house ~ meditation. A few, short months ago, I could have been quoted saying, “I’m not patient enough for yoga. It’s too long and takes too much focus.” Always looking for needing self-improvement, this lady who couldn’t be still or focused enough for yoga, was skeptically ready to give meditation a shot. It helped that there’s an app for that. AND that my first app trial began with a mere five minute meditation. I could do that!

The result has been a bit of a miracle in my daily thought processes, words, and actions. Not a quick-fix miracle, but a slow, building understanding and appreciation for the power of my mind. I’m definitely still making the most imperfect progress in learning to slow my mind and body enough to be truly present in one moment, this one. My misconceptions are transforming. It’s not really just about clearing my mind, eliminating stress, or focusing on my breathing. It’s really been about learning to let go of the past and the future to be truly aware and present in this one moment, right now, mindfulness. As my co-blogger so aptly quoted in her post {Inspiration Everywhere},“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called Yesterday and the other is called Tomorrow. Today is the right day to Love, Believe, Do and mostly Live.”― Dalai Lama XIV

I thought I really understood that quote, but often had a hard time with learning to live in the present. Meditation has certainly helped with that, and making slow and steady progress toward mindfulness, being truly present in this very moment I’ve been gifted, has given me new understanding. What I’ve learned, when I let my mind wander to thoughts of the past (not a reminiscing with friends and loved ones, but wander in busy, hectic thought), what I most often hear from myself is judgement, blame, regret, shame, embarrassment…I wander to those moments I over think, that create insecurities and self doubt. That is not a good place to live in the mind. Conversely when I let my mind wander to the future, what I hear from myself is worry, fear, doubt, stress, anxiety…I wander to that feeling of scarcity I’m trying so hard to overcome {As mentioned in Harvesting Abundance}, feeling that I have too much to do without hope of getting it all done. That’s not a good place to live in the mind either.


Mindfulness has taught me where joy lives,  JOY lives in now. I find the most joy when I focus on only the present and let everything else go. It’s ok if now isn’t always joyful, but it’s so much easier to find joy when we’re truly present. Had I missed this gift of mindfulness, I would have also missed this joyful moment in observing my five year old with our loyal dog. I would have been so caught up in stress, worry, and exhaustion with a long list of chores related to a new venture we’re undertaking as a family, that I never would have heard her laughter ~ a laugh right from her heart when she was enjoying this simple moment in the sun with her dog. I never would have stopped rolling my paintbrush long enough to hear the quiet giggle or go watch and snap a picture, had I not learned to bring myself back to now.

I also would have missed the sincere joy on both my girls’ faces as they willingly helped with the long list of chores we were working on. You see, children really know how to live in the moment. Of course, they have times of fear, worry, and anger too, but for the most part, they are present in now. You can see it in all the joy they’re able to get out of their days. I’m able to pull them out of their mindfulness with words like, “Hurry!”, “We have a lot to do!”, “We’re going to be late?”, and on and on and on. Being mindful helps me do that less and less often these days too.

I’m not saying, forget the past and all the fun times that have been had, just to be mindful of where your thoughts are taking you and find ways to bring yourself back to now if it’s a bad road. I’m not saying, throw plans, lists, and goals out the window either. I say, figure out what you really want, in your heart ~ where you want your life to go. Write it down. Plan out some action steps on how to get there. Make lists, if you like, of ways to accomplish your goals every day and to get the necessities of life done along the way. Make a plan. Then forget it, in the moments of getting it done, in checking the items off your list. I think you’ll find so much more joy in the process if you do.

Here’s what’s helping me make very imperfect progress toward being mindful ~ finding more joy in now.

  • Meditation – a great tool in learning how to be present and bring yourself back to the present when your mind is wandering in a negative direction.  I need a lot of help with this, so a couple of apps have been tools I couldn’t have done without. I started with “Omvana” and have moved on to “Calm”, thanks to my husband. I like to do this first thing in the morning, when it’s dark and my house is quiet. It puts me in the right mindset before I pray and go about my day. It can be done regardless of religion or religious beliefs.
  • If I find my mind wandering to a place I don’t want to go, I stop and focus on only one thing long enough to bring my mind back to the present.
    • my breathing – the rise and fall of my chest, what the air feels like as it goes in and out of my nose, trachea, lungs
    • one body part and how it feels at the moment, good or bad
  • When I’m feeling judgement for myself or others, I say to myself:
    • “I’m not perfect. Did you expect me to be?”
  • When things aren’t going according to plan and I’m feeling stress or anxiety, I say in my mind:
    • “Everything is happening just as it’s meant to be.”
  • When I feel envy or worry about opportunities or accomplishments, I say silently:
    • “There’s enough for everyone.”
  • When I’m angry…or hangry, for that matter…or taking the actions of another personally, I remind myself:
    • “Always choose to act out of love.”

If these little mantras and tips seem silly to you, that’s ok. I must say that I’ve been freed by many things I’ve been skeptical of or tried to prove wouldn’t work. I would also encourage you to find your own tools to bring you to the Joy in Now, if you don’t have some already. Either way, do share them below. Imperfect progress is so much sweeter when shared. It would bring us great joy to share in yours too.