Is Your Mind Full or Are You Mindful?

Mindfulness is a big buzz word right now. I have learned mindfulness through my yoga practice and studies. Mindful speaking, mindful meditations and basically growing awareness to cultivate a higher consciousness is what I think of when I hear the word mindfulness. However, this week when I completed parent orientation at the University of Kentucky for my daughter’s freshman year I heard the word and a detailed explanation in an entirely new way. We heard from many authorities and leaders from the school and it was very impressive how many resources are available to the students at UK, but the head of student services talked at great length about the transitions and stress our children undergo throughout college, but especially the freshman transition. He talked about what it means to drink responsibly. Think about this and jot down how you would explain that phrase to your child. First, be of legal age. Secondly be MINDFUL of your words, actions and functions as you drink. I had never heard the word mindful used this way and it really sparked interest in me. Parents, we need to teach our children mindfulness from a young age, however, it is never too late to begin. Children will make mistakes and we have to hope that they learn from them, avoid repeating the same mistakes and ultimately pray that they have enough good sense to not make a mistake that could negatively impact their lives forever. We throw the words responsible or responsibility out to our children without understanding or explaining to them what that actually means. There are over 1800 accidental deaths caused by alcohol on college campuses every year in the USA. That statistic boggles my mind and scares me. Sadly "responsible drinking" was somehow missed by these students and they tragically lost their lives. So how can we make future college students more mindful of the dangers of alcohol?

  Photography by Paul Garrett

Photography by Paul Garrett

Children learn more by watching our actions than by listening to our words. Parents and friends please be mindful while raising your kids. Yes, we too make mistakes. No one is perfect and part of the journey of life is learning, growing and transforming. But, when we are mindful and aware of how our words and our actions both positively and negatively impact others, we can make changes to improve our behavior. It is also important that we own our mistakes and take responsibility for them in front of our children. Once again, we lead by example and our kids take notice of our actions.

  Graphic by Henck van Bilsen

Graphic by Henck van Bilsen

Being aware or mindful in each moment is powerful. Often when we are distracted by thoughts of the past or of the future it creates stress and anxiety and we then miss the beautiful miracles happening all around us. When we get distracted, being mindful of our breath can bring us back into the present moment. It is an ongoing practice, but it is worth the effort.

Very few people are fully aware in this universe. We get caught up in old patterns, get stuck on that hamster wheel we call life and honestly, we are not fully living when we are not present in the now. We try to “fix” our problems, but you see none of us are broken. Rather we are all works in progress and in the present moment we are who and where we need to be. We can improve through a positive outlook that accepts that the divine is within us. Those of us who are mindful can at least begin to make changes toward our higher self. If we teach our children to be mindful and present, they are far less likely to be texting and snapchatting during dinner, and instead they will be more likely to engage in family conversations and be mindful at the dinner table. Texting while enjoing a meal or when in the car with others is a form of multi tasking which is a distraction from the present moment. You cannot give 100 percent of your time and effort if you multitask. It takes being all there and present to succeed. 

  Photography by Morgan McAvoy

Photography by Morgan McAvoy

So whether we are talking about drinking responsibly, being respectful to peers, being mindful of our thoughts, getting tasks completed on time and showing up in life, mindfulness plays a huge role in our success and in the success of our children. So slow down, stay present, be aware of your surroundings and engage your senses. Notice what and how you feel. Notice what you hear, what you smell and what you taste. Begin to observe free from judgement and learn to pause in stressful situations so that you can respond calmly. This is the practice of mindfulness.

Mindfully your,

Libby


This mini series on mindfulness continues on Tuesday with a post called, "From Mindfulness to Awakening." Becoming mindful not only makes your life more vibrant and peaceful, it is also the beginning of a greater awakening within you. So what does this mean? Join us here this coming Tuesday to learn more.


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