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Mindfulness: Purposeful Awareness

Posted on February 18th, 2016 | Filed Under Health and Wellness, Life Balance

So what is this mindfulness that we hear so much about?  The Webster Dictionary says:


1.  the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something.

2.  Psychology.

  1. a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them:  The practice of mindfulness can reduce stress and physical pain.
  2. the mental state maintained by the use of this technique.


Very different from meditation, which is about quieting the mind, mindfulness is about noticing all that is present, even our thoughts.  As you have noticed, our thoughts can very effectively demand all of our attention, pulling our focus away from all else happening around us.  Our thoughts can seem so pressing that we can miss the little things (or big) that are the things that create the most joy in our life.

Yesterday, on my hike on the trails near my home, I was in complete pleasure at the ability to be outside in exquisite weather, sunny and breezy, in Texas Hill Country with sage and rabbits and that blissful solitude that only nature can provide.  Then without even noticing it happening, my mind became immersed in the thoughts that come in.  You know the ones – the calls that need to be made, the bill that needs to be paid, the dry cleaning that needs to be picked up, the client that needs some extra attention, the office that needs to be organized, the project that needs to be completed – yesterday! …. blah, blah, blah.

And then I noticed my body in reaction to the thoughts.  My pace had slowed down.  My legs literally moved slower.  While I new on an intellectual level that thoughts can be an energy drain leading to exhaustion or the opposite, creating anxiety.  But this was a visceral awareness of how my body could not function to normal capacity when I was so deeply engaged in thoughts that were pulling my energy down…that feeling of not ever being able to get it all done.  In that moment, I allowed the thoughts to disperse and came back into the moment, into the mindfulness zone.  My pace increased, and I became aware again of the sun and the breeze and the beauty around me.

How often do you allow your thoughts to steal your ability to be present to the beauty in your life?  I invite you to be mindful of your thoughts and notice when they are pulling you away from your peace, joy and passions.  And enjoy the results of your more purposeful awareness!


Shedding Old Skin

Posted on June 23rd, 2011 | Filed Under Letting Go, Life Balance, Personal Growth

Over the last couple of months, I have been in the process of letting go of projects and responsibilities that tend to drain me, rather than feed me.  I have noticed that I have to do this at least once a year – like a snake or iguana who must shed old skin in order allow new, more vibrant skin to come to the surface.   For the reptile, this process is natural – but for us, the process usually requires intention and focus.

As I approached the summer, knowing that my daughter would not be in school and that my many projects would no longer receive the energy they needed, I began to look at what I could give up.  I created lists of all my endeavors and posted them on my office wall so I could visit them easily.  I am very visual, so this allowed me to change their place on the wall as I determined their importance to me.  I measured each project by value to my personal growth, financial health, pleasure and sustainability (due to my time limited work time for the summer).

During this process, I began to experience a feeling of resistance to letting some of these things so.    So I spent some time in self-inquiry and meditation about that.  Why did I need to hold on this project?  Why did I need to maintain control of that endeavor?  Why did it feel like a unwelcome loss?  What came up was I was that I had been allowing my identity to be attached to these endeavors.

It happens at an unconscious level.  Initially, each project that I accept allows me to use my skills in some way, and that feels good.  Then as I move through the project, I gain a sense of contribution, and that feels like community and connection.  Creating something of value feels empowering.  All feeling we hope for when we work our trade, yes?

So why do I find myself in this position once again each year?  Once again over extended and too many pots on the fire.  Scrambling for time to give each the energy it deserves.   What is at the bottom of this habit?  I have been practicing saying NO, so perhaps something deeper?  Am I padding myself with multiple skins to feel strong?  To feel protected?

Then I think how a tree sprouts hundreds of leaves each spring, and by summer it is lush and full.   And then its energy is spent and it is time to let go.  It allows all its leaves to fall into autumn.  And the tree does this naturally, year after year without fail.   Perhaps our shedding skin is just like the natural cycle of the seasons.  And with each season, there is new opportunity for shedding old skin, letting go of dried up leaves and perhaps even allowing dormancy to ponder what the heart desires to come into fruition.

In the meantime, I hold the awareness and know that as I the shed old skin(s), I make room for new energy to feed the projects that will
give me expansion, abundance and pleasure.