Mindfulness: The Art of Living

Mindfulness: The Art of Living

Mindfulness can be described as the ongoing, direct open-hearted, moment-to-moment awareness; on purpose, in a non-reactive and non-judgmental way; just as it is, just as we are.

Notice I used the word described, not defined.

Mindfulness is too big, too wide an experience to be defined. Ultimately, words fail. Mindfulness is a practice and an action. A way of being. It is a verb. It is meant to be lived and experienced, not just studied.

Sheltering in Place has offered me an opportunity to deepen my mindfulness practice, even though I am working from home and have more distractions, especially the dogs (who are enjoying my at-homeness very much).

I see that Mindfulness is the key to emotion regulation, right intention, right choice and right action.

Mindfulness uses self-awareness to create a space, a holding environment for our thoughts, attitudes, emotions and sensations. Glimpsing how mind is experiencing, viewing and understanding our reality in this now. Adjusting our view if it is not accurate, realistic, beneficial and healthy. Adopting a more realistic view to guide intention, choice and action.

In this way, we transform them, rather than transmit them. Growing through this ongoing daily process which is like doing the dishes, and scrubbing and scouring the pots and pans.

Yet Mindfulness takes us far beyond psychological dimension into the spiritual.

It opens our hearts and thus opens us to other beings through compassionate co-existing and abiding, and to experiencing life.

As I write, I am listening to and enjoying the soft spring rain on my roof, the clock ticking, and the gentle breathing of the sleeping dog at my feet. Moments ago, I stepped outside. I could smell the freshness of the rain. I could hear the jabber of starlings creating yet another nesting hole in the century old willow in the yard. The grass is greening. Tulips and daffodils are pushing up through last autumn’s unraked leaves.

The practice of Mindfulness opens the heart to love, beauty and wonder.

It calls us and teaches us to live this moment, this life more deeply. It reminds us that while mind often wants to dwell in the future or the past, it really only has one dwelling place: the present moment.

Stay tuned and attuned. Don’t miss it. Go Well.

David AgeeDavid Agee, LMSW, is a therapist at the Pine Rest Traverse City Clinic and is available through teletherapy during the current stay at home order.

He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Detroit, an MDiv at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. and an MSW from Grand Valley State University.

As a therapist, David is trained in cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, narrative therapy, motivational interviewing, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy, and mindfulness based cognitive therapy.

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