I am excited to introduce Melissa Reyes, author of This is the Sound of My Soul to the Responsive Universe as part of my guest blog series focusing on the concept of “Mindfulness”.  I write about mindfulness and meditation on a regular basis and I thought it would be fun, educational and interesting to see how other wellness advocates center their energy in the moment and find relaxation from the controlled chaos that is daily life. Thanks Melissa!

 

 

Discovering How Mindfulness and Meditation Make it All Better

By Melissa Reyes

Sometimes I feel like I am taking things too hard, or too personally. I start to wonder, “why me?” And I think, “oh no, not this again!” Recently I saw this phrase that a friend posted on Facebook:

“I gotta stop fretting and start trying to figure out how to dig myself out of a hole.”

That’s it. The feeling of falling deeper and deeper into a hole, knowing the whole time that you’ve been there before. You got yourself out. How did you do it? How can you avoid slipping down that way again? How can you avoid making the same mistakes again?

I heard this song on the radio on my way to work…and I realized everyone feels this way at times!

“Taking it All Too Hard”

Genesis

No not this confused again
No not the same mistakes again.
You’re taking it all to heart
You’re taking it all too hard

Why can’t you see what’s going on?
I know you’d never admit
You would ever be to blame
Everything’s a game to you
The old days are gone
And they’re better left alone
I cannot help you, it’s much too late

Oh no not this confused again
Oh no not the same mistakes again.
You’re taking it all to heart
You’re taking it all too hard

There’s always a reason why it happened
You never never did anything wrong, but it
It just seemed to fall apart
But you’re taking it all too hard

Now that it’s dark, all of your fears,
Like shadows creeping around.
You’re much too scared to look down
And it’s lonely out on your own

The old days are gone
And they’re better left alone
But I still miss you
I keep it to myself

Oh no not this confused again
Oh no not the same mistakes again
You’re taking it all to heart
You’re taking it all too hard

My friend John Bader says, in his book The Responsive Universe, “As long as you have faith in your beliefs you will instill that faith into an entire system of thought that defines you as an individual.”  He says “our past dictates our present actions and also our future wellness. Noting your negative behaviors before you even act exhibits clarity and wisdom.”

There is a lot of talk about mindfulness these days. People are tuning in to the idea that living in the moment and being fully present are positive attributes when dealing with an overwhelming existence in our fast action society. It is imperative to hone this skill or we will get lost in the minutia. Taking time to center myself has become something I need to do more and more often. It used to be something I practiced because I liked it. I learned to weather through depression and anxiety by using techniques and practices such as meditation and yoga out of necessity. It helps. When I start to worry, get confused. feel helpless in a situation, and when I start to take it all to heart – I take time to center myself and I begin to feel better.

Mindfulness to me is being aware of my intentions and acting according to my core values. Sometimes life takes me in other directions. Sometimes I need to tune out my surroundings and tune in to my inner voice to get back on track. Here are my best practices that I use to center myself and focus on what is important to me:

  • talking to a friend
  • writing in my journal
  • making lists and mind mapping
  • writing – story telling
  • quieting my mind – resting
  • visualization – going to my happy place
  • meditation – prayer
  • relaxation – quieting the body (massage, laying out by the pool, going to the spa)
  • walking – taking nature hikes
  • yoga, stretching
  • retreats, weekend getaways
  • attend Mass, volunteering at Church
  • singing – listening to music
  • cleaning, organizing
  • reading
  • watching movies and “vegging” out

There are so many ways that we can tap into our consciousness and find sturdy ground. Knowing which things appeal to our needs and suits us best is the first step. Then when you get that feeling that you need to “dig yourself out of a hole” you will know exactly what to do.  A good place to start is to take a look at The Tree of Contemplative Practices, from The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. This graphic shows all the varying types of practices used for mindfulness and meditation. There are many things that can be tried and then you can make your own list based on what works for you.

treeofcontemplation

 

How does doing these things make a difference?

How does it help me be a better person, make better decisions, navigate the minutia, get out of that hole? It helps if you know who you are, what you want in life, and what it is that you are passionate about. If you are still searching for these things, when you contemplate your life – ask yourself what it is that makes you happy. That can be a difficult question to answer. It took me a very long time to come to a conclusion. My instinct was to make other people happy.

First, I wanted to make my parents happy. I wanted them to be proud of me. I felt that I owed it to them to do the right things and to honor their wishes, their hopes, dreams and expectations. Then, I wanted my husband to be happy. I was in love and I thought it was my duty to fulfill my husband’s hopes and dreams. Then I tried to be a good mother and fulfill my children’s needs. You get the idea. Along my life’s path I may have answered the question, “What makes me happy?” quite differently. I now believe that if I was being true to myself and my core values, then I would have focused on my own needs. It is not selfish to do this. It is actually helpful to everyone around me. Knowing what it is that makes me happy, truly happy, spreads to all who know me. Because it centers me and makes me whole. My joy shines through in everything that I do.

“To be more mindful of the present, we must tune out virtually everything besides our own internal voices – to feel ourselves breathing and reaching out to the world with a true mind and heart.”

“Living in the moment brings us to a self that is pure and unfettered. It brings us closer to our true nature.” ~John C. Bader, The Responsive Universe

So, what does “vegging out” or laying out by the pool have to do with mindfulness, meditation, centering and digging myself out of a hole?

We must realize when we start to feel lost or out of control that we are listening to negative voices and believing lies about where our life is headed. Stop that. Be mindful of your thoughts. Take the time to bring yourself to a good place. Listen to your inner “sweetheart” and hear your kind thoughtful healthy voice. Ask yourself, what do I need to do to be happy? Then do it. Seriously, I have discovered that telling myself and believing that I can be happy really does make it all better!

If you need help finding direction in your life, discovering your purpose or if you would like some insight on contemplative practices, you can contact me for coaching. Make an appointment HERE for a FREE introductory session.

Melissa Reyes is a life coach and blogger at MizMeliz.com. She is the author of This is the Sound of My Soul where she shares her transformational journey of discovering her life’s passion and joy.

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