But not all of us want to wear harem pants. Sit on funny shaped cushions. In a contorted pose. In a cave.
If you’re like me you’re been though that phase.
Not that there’s too much wrong with that. If it rocks your boat. Cool.
Me I will never wear those pants again. Not even to get mindful.
Here’s the good news. You can be mindful in heels. And a good frock. Or wearing your favourite jeans. You don’t need any special gear. To eat only clean food. Give up wine. Become a nature fanatic. Or to go on retreat. Though that might be nice. You will definitely never need to chant. If you don’t want to.
Whew. I’m glad I’ve cleared that up. Actually I think Ms Mindful is to. She was finding her style was getting a little bit cramped.
Here’s some other news. You can just start. Go on. Get a bit mindful. Right now. Right here. Or there. Wherever you are. It’s really isn’t that complicated. So why not.
The physical evidence is in. Mindfulness is good for you. It’s linked to happiness. Health. Longevity. And we all want some of that.
So go on. There’s a lot to be gained. No point putting it off. Just start. Here’s a little artwork while you sit in the moment. Take a minute. Oh and it does seem to help if you breathe. Sort of slowly. Focus on that to begin with.
So. How did you go? Did you start off OK. Sitting with your insides. Listening to yourself. Tuning into you.
Then after a little bit did you wander? Wheeee… off somewhere. Got a bit distracted. Thought about this. About that. About that new linen you might buy. Went there. Then here. What about dinner tonight. To the past. To the present. To Paris. Or wherever you roam.
May I introduce Monkey Mind. That’s what they call it. Though I think there’s actually a cute little bird inside me. Flitting here then there.
Trouble is it’s away. Away from this. The here. The now. The what actually is. It a sort of not being here. Seems this isn’t good. Makes us dissatisfied. Dysregulated. Disconnected. It changes our brains. In a bad way.
The practice. The mindfulness bit. Is to notice. To watch that monkey. Observe the bird. That wandering thought. As it starts to flit. Touch it. Sort of softly.
You don’t need to get all worked up. Hunt it down. Go on a monkey chase. Just let that one go. Return to the now. Anyway. The bird is back. So you start again.
So what’s the point. Well. Each time you do this the smallest bit of change occurs. Inside you. In your brain. At first you will feel like you are just the same. But you’re not. You are in an ever so slightly different place. Just a bit. But it’s closer. To calm. To a sweeter spot.
This is how moment by moment you build a capacity for presence. How the pathways for attention are made and maintained. How you grow goodness in your brain.
It’s how you thicken up the Prefrontal cortex. That’s the bit that carries out what are called executive functions. It’s quite the sophisticated area. So thick is good. Really good.
And you shrink the Amygdala. Which is where all that stressed out hyped up exhausting stuff is firing from. It’s a more primitive part of your brain so we need it under a bit of control. Like putting the guard dog on a leash. It can still bark but it’s not roaming wild.
I just want to assure you nerdy types that there is actually evidence. A lot. Measurements. Traces. Pictures of brain bits. And it correlates really well with what has been claimed by long-term practitioners.
That these practises actually change your brain. There is growth and increased connections in some bits. Decreased activity in others. In the ways that are good.
It doesn’t take too long either. Some daily practise for about eight weeks. Once the changes are there the benefits are built-in. Even when you’re not actually doing Mindfulness. After that you will be able to move to a phase where you integrate mindfulness. Into your life. Into you.
How cool is that. Even wearing your cute black frock and heels.
This is how you change yourself from a Human DOING. To a Human BEING.
Someone who is more attentive. Curious. Non- judgemental. Kind. Optimistic. Grateful. Compassionate. All loved up.
No excuses about being a stressed out busy-bee either. Not now. You will have a way to manage. To attend. Even when distressed. To become calm. Without going under.
Over time I’ve attended yoga. Sat in meditation. Even indulged in a bit of prayer. These can be all Mindfulness practises. But be warned. It’s possible to be absolutely mindless. Even doing yoga. That’s why I’ve talked you though the basics. Simply. This is the nuts and bolts. This is how to start.
But my biggest message today is you don’t have to be a particular type. Look and dress a particular way. It’s for all of us.
In fact my prediction is that mindfulness is about to get a whole lot sexier. And fun.
After all the prefrontal cortex is the home of the qualities that make life as a human gorgeous.
Especially if YOU midlife magical women get your heads around it.
So try some Practise. Ten minutes a day is all it takes. Use it for your benefit. To paint your nails. To enjoy the food you made. To take a bath.
To master walking in heels. The way those french women do. Across cobblestones.
I know about the heel thing. I normally stay pretty flat on the ground. But sometimes they’re just fun. And the right thing. In Paris.
Then my mind wanders off. Just the littlest bit.
Well then I’m down. Done. Damn. My excuse is that it was raining. Still. Should have been paying more attention.