Hi there. How are you?

Welcome to the third episode of my new weekly video case – Soul Food.

[Watch it now on the Soul Food with Mark Conner YouTube Channel]

We’ve been talking about the importance of self care. Self care isn’t selfish. The best gift you can give the people around you, is you becoming a healthier person – in very area of your life. 

Last week, we spoke about the practice of Reflection.

Today, I want to talk about Mindfulness.

A recent TIME magazine article noted that distraction is the dominant condition of our age. We are a pretty stressed out generation, a direct result of our relentless multi-tasking culture. The answer? Mindfulness – taking time to be still, to stop the constant noise and chatter around us, and to be fully present in the moment. It’s a key to health and happiness.

The dictionary defines mindfulness as the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. It means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. It’s about paying full attention to what is happening … right here, right now … with a non-judgmental, curious and kind attitude. It means slowing down to really notice what you’re doing. Being mindful is the opposite of rushing or multitasking. When you’re mindful, you’re taking your time.

Mindfulness, or meditation, has been around for centuries. Often we associate it with religion or spirituality (see The Lost Art of Meditation) – but even the business, sport, and health worlds are seeing the value of it today.

It’s not necessarily easy … but it is worth it.

I like to consider the difference between rowing and sailing. To get across a lake you can row a boat. Rowing is about your effort, your exertion. We can accomplish a lot in life through active effort … though it can be tiring after a while.

Sailing is very different. There are things you still have to do – like get the boat on the water and hoist the sails. But if the wind aint blowing, you aint going anywhere. But if you catch the wind, you are in for the ride of your life. 

Sailing is all about watching, listening, and discerning what is happening in the environment or the atmosphere – then responding accordingly. 

To me, mindfulness is about learning to sail through my day, more than the automatic default of rowing. It’s about slowing down and observing what is happening. Mindfulness helps me cultivates a greater degree of awareness and attentiveness, two essential qualities for a meaningful life. 

As I said, this is NOT easy, especially for activistic task-orientated people like ME! But it’s worth it.

What not set aside some time today to be mindful. Stop what you’re doing. Find somewhere quiet and free from distraction or interruption. Go on – go ‘off the grid’ for a while! Then simply BE … in the moment. Focus on your breathing. When your mind wanders, which it will, simply bring it back to the present moment. You might want to listen to some instrumental music (experiment with one of the many mindfulness APPs), write in a journal, or focus on a positive or uplifting phrase or a sacred text. Start with just a few minutes each day, then go a little longer. 

Then throughout the day, endeavour to live more mindfully – whether its observing with greater curiosity what is happening around you, listening more attentively during a conversation with a friend, or simply eating a meal more slowly. 

Mindfulness matters. It enriches our experience of life. 

Let’s recap our main lessons from today’s episode:

That’s all for today. Once again, I’d love to hear some comments back from you and why not talk about this mindfulness with your family and friends today.

This has been Soul Food with Mark Conner.

See you next week when we talk the hidden danger of internal stress.

P.S. Visit https://linktr.ee/markconner for all my social media links.

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