We all take steps every day, but how often do we walk with intention or purpose? I use daily walking meditation to being present in my life and give my dogs exercise at the same time. I use this time to be mindful of my body as it takes steps, as it breathes, and keeps me going forward. I find this awareness and attention allows me to be more ‘in the moment’ and present both during the walk and afterward. I take the time to look around and notice the sky, trees, and life around me.
I use walking as my ‘tune-in time’ where self-acceptance and awareness are my main priorities. I have always found the sounds of nature, so if the birds are chirping or nearby water is flowing I’ll feel more centered and connected to myself and therefore the world.
To be my best self, I find accepting and befriending myself is key. Sometimes my self-talk can be negative, nasty, or unfriendly – I try to turn it around and realize I need to treat myself like a best friend. Courtesy, optimism, and support are not as common in the world as I would like, but if I am not taking simple steps to be sure I use them with myself how can I be my best self?
Andy Puddicombe has an excellent TED Talk about being mindful for 10 minutes a day (listed in the resources below), he reminds us that our mind is a precious resource in our lives and relationships. I find being present or in-the-moment can help me to maintain appreciation and understanding of the current situations in here and now. Treating meditation as a preventative approach to taking care of our minds and bodies is a great reminder of how we take them for granted in our daily lives.
I find inner peace a pivotal component of meditation or mindfulness, when life seems to create chaos returning to look inward is usually my best undertaking. I find meditation brings awareness and acceptance that is regenerative for my mind, body, and spirit. To feel more centered, reduce stress and/or anxiety, I have found having a mental and physical release can be the difference between a good day and a not so good one. Being aware of your body and mind can prevent feeling overwhelmed with life’s difficulties or problems.
Despite my desire to feel like I know a lot based on my age and experience, I find balancing or centering myself is a really a lifelong endeavor. I notice when I stop giving myself the time to recharge. I love the Kabat-Zinn quote “Anything and everything can become our teacher of the moment, reminding us of the possibility of being fully present” – I get to pick when to be present and teachable. I am a work in progress and have a lot to learn, but I usually come back to awareness and intention being pivotal.
Aiming for calm, clarify, and focus with mindfulness practices like my daily walking (or maybe you would find biking or hiking your ‘Zen moment’) – I encourage you to find what works for you and make it a consistent part of your life. The investment of energy and time in yourself can help you feel like your ‘best self’, which can be pretty incredible. Learning to spend more time in the here and now reduces stressors and improve your energy level for life’s challenges.
WHEN® Thought Leadership by Kelly
Friedman, Nancy. Beginning a Daily Mindful Practice. WHEN resource.
Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment – and Your Life. Sound True, 2016.
Puddicombe, Andy. All it takes is 10 mindful minutes. TED Talk November 2012. Retrieved from www.ted.com/talks/andy_puddicombe_all_it_takes_is_10_mindful_minutes/up-next