MINDFUL MOMENTS

Swans know the essence of Zen: Sit when it is time to sit. Eat when it is time to eat.
Ward Creek entering Ward Lake in the spring time. Located within the Tongass National Forest outside of Ketchikan, Alaska.
 
 

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

It's great to see that the term "mindfulness" is becoming more mainstream now, even making appearances in psychology and communication textbooks. Like all deceptively simple concepts, mindfulness is a choice and a practice that can be wonderfully easy at times or a downright challenge other times. Simply put, mindfulness is deciding to afford to pay full attention to the task at hand, the person before you, your environment and what is happening around you, and/or what is happening within your mind and body. When I think of the term, mindfulness, I often think of space, a slowing down of time, a quality of being that is always available to us to access if we care to put the brakes on our fast-paced life once in awhile and part the weeds to see what is beneath the hustle and bustle of the moment.

In thinking about this right now, I'm not sure what many people are afraid of when it comes to taking more time out for ourselves and others. Perhaps it is the seeming unappealing aspect of doing less or nothing at times that we often equate with boredom. Maybe we are afraid of what might surface if given the chance--old bottled up emotions, dark thoughts, deep wounds. Sometimes we may become more aware of aspects that we don't like about ourselves, which is tough and painful because then there is no place to hide from ourselves at that moment, no more blaming others, and then we realize that it is only up to us to have to do the hard work of growing and improving if we indeed want to change. Often times though, we are caught up in the pressures and stresses of just trying to keep up with the demands of our daily work-life balance, afraid that if we slow down too much, we'll lose our momentum, get left behind, or won't care to keep up the pace anymore. Could be any number of things!

But I do know that everyone loves those memorable moments when peace and clarity well up when we surprisingly find ourselves completely content just watching the moon rise above an August cornfield or following schools of September salmon swimming upstream to find home once again or just sitting on our deck sipping morning coffee with a friend or a lover. Our whole lives are made up of these moments if we care to see it that way, and the more we can appreciate how precious every moment is, the more we can begin to savor and treasure each breath, even when times or situations are difficult or unpleasant even. So enjoy these "Mindful Moments" videos, as they are times that I've stumbled unexpectedly on beauty and peace during my walks outdoors in the Ketchikan area. These are some of the moments that have recharged and refreshed me. May they do the same for you. And if you are ever planning on cruising through Southeast Alaska in the summer, please consider joining Mindfulness Rainforest Treks for a mindful hiking tour down to Coast Guard Beach!