There is much talk these days — at least in the cirles I travel — about mindfulness. For me, mindfulness is the intentional practice of being present in the moment, embracing whatever that moment holds, whether it be joy, suffering or something in between. Our tendency is to be either locked in the past through regret or pain, or we are obsessed or worried about the future. What gets overlooked is the amazing gift of “now”.
In the past several months I have begun to practice mindfulness in some specific ways. Here are a few examples:
* Mindfulness of nature – paying attention to the changes in nature literally right in my back yard. This Spring I am paying attention to the budding of the trees and the amazing things that happen all around us with the changing of the seasons. Taking just a few moments each day to do this fills me with wonder and gratitude for God’s created order… and for me being a small but significant part of it.
* Mindful eating. Rather than rushing through my meal, I am taking just a few seconds to look at what is on my plate before diving in. It is amazing when I stop to think of all the things that had to happen for that food to be on my plate: farmers growing crops, people harvesting, distribution and logistical systems, cookware to prepare it, spices, etc. Chewing slowly and savoring each bite makes me mindful and thankful for the gift of food.
* Mindful functions. This one is brand new… and I warn you, it may fall into the category of TMI. But it occured to me this morning that I can even practice “mindful functions”. You see, I have a friend who is having surgery tomorrow to have his cancerous rectum removed. That’s right—removed, as in gone, not there anymore. A basic bodily function I take for granted (and often find inconvenient) will be forever different for him from that day forward. These bodies we have that digest and process what we eat without any intentionality on our part…. wow, what a miracle and what a blessing! Forgive me if you are offended by what sounds crass, but I intend to practice mindful functions from this day forward.
And…if you don’t mind, please pray for my friend, Kevin, and his family and for the doctors performing his surgery tomorrow.
**QUESTION: What intentional practices help you stay mindful of the amazing gift of “now”?**