All of our emotions are our babies. Treat them tenderly, care for them. Â Be with them. Â Understanding and compassion will ultimately transform them.
-Thich Nhat Hanh
My years of living have finally taught me how little control I really have. I can’t bring peace to the world. I can’t control sickness. I can’t control how anyone behaves. I can’t control what anyone else thinks of me or how they treat me.
I realize now that the only things I can control are my thoughts, my behaviors and my actions. And that knowledge holds the key to liberation.
It has not been an easy year for our family and friends. A dear friend and my only living uncle have cancer diagnoses and have gone through difficult treatments.
My most precious brother-in-law is very ill and is nearing the end of his life. I have watched in awe as he lives his days. Even though he is uncomfortable much of the time he makes an effort to spend time at the ocean, lunches with friends, tells stories that make everyone laugh and watches his favorite TV shows. People who visit during his rest time get in bed with him as he continues to share his love of literature and philosophy.
Every caregiver who enters his home walks out the door in awe and in love. He still tells his wife how beautiful she is and thanks her endlessly for her gracious care of him. He is a constant source of inspiration to all of us. He can’t control his illness. But he can and does control how he responds to it. He is alert, aware and as alive as he has ever been in his life.
Mindfulness allows me to be consciously, compassionately and non-judgmentally present to what is happening only in the moment. It is helping me to understand that worrying about the past or fretting about the future will not bring the peace I crave.
When I live mindfully, I can be present to life experiences. Â I taste the juiciness of the orange I am eating, I notice the sparkle in my granddaughter’s eyes, I bask in the golden warmth of the sun on my face, I admire the grace of the trees bending in the wind. I am grateful for every little thing.
I see beyond Â people’s words and into their hearts. I take time to be grateful. I take time to listen. I take time to notice the color of the flowers, the shape of the clouds.
I am aware of all my feelings, the good ones, the bad ones, the scary ones. In my awareness, I do not judge, resist or cling.
Because I am more accepting of the world in general I find myself becoming more compassionate and accepting of myself and of others.
When my mind starts to tell stories or predict the future, I am able to allow the thoughts to move through me, let them float away and go back to the present.
My loved ones facing serious illnesses have been a lesson in mindfulness for me.
They have been fully open to their pain, their sadness, their fear. They enjoy a loved one’s touch, the beauty of a spring day, a bird singing in the tree. They laugh at the antics of children and are keenly interested in world events and the happenings of friends and family.
They have been my greatest teachers of mindfulness.
Mindfulness allows me to be serene in the midst of uncertainty. It allows me to see life’s goodness. Â When I am mindful, I feel more serene, more spacious, more alive. One day at a time. One moment at a time. One breath at a time.
Living Mindfully: Finding Calm in the Midst of Uncertainty
Date: Â Tuesday, June 14
Time: 7:00 pm — 8:30 on
Place: Â Held in Southfield (e-mail me (email@example.com) to RSVP and for directions)
Cost: Â $15
RSVP: by June 6th. Space is limited.
Brenda Strausz is a holistic psychotherapist with a practice in Southfield, MI. She combines traditional and alternative techniques to help you live with more ease, joy and freedom. Her belief in the healing power of love and forgiveness guides her work. She can be reached through her website at www.BrendaStrausz.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Â© Copyright 2011 Â Allison Stuart Kaplan Â www.Askinyourface.com LLC