A time for mindfulness

Leonardo DiCaprio going on an environmental rant at the Oscars (despite his monolithic abuse of it with extravagant travel and runaway consumption), Donald Trump becoming the most popular politician in America (and the unfathomable thought of this blowhard actually becoming the leader of the "free" world), layoffs, cutbacks, family stress - we are living in challenging and unsettling times.  Add to the mix what is looking to be a brutal spring forest fire season and the requisite smoke it will wrought, and we are balancing personal plates that runneth over.  Or, to cite a slightly different metaphor, our stress buckets are rather full, in fact, the water has escaped the meniscus (the curved upper surface of liquid in a vessel - learned that word in a Maclean's quiz the other day) and is flowing over the edge and onto the floor.

All of this is to say that we need to be extra mindful of our neighbours and extra mindful of ourselves.  Everything that we've been experiencing is additive, and without even realizing it, we might find ourselves acting a little more ornery, our fuses might be a little shorter, and we might be unknowingly having a negative affect on those around us.

Mindfulness is a great word as it carries a lot of weight, yet it is open to interpretation.  It could mean something different for everyone.  Here are a few thoughts that could inject mindfulness moments into your day.

1. Catch someone doing something good - offering encouragement to others is a great exercise in mindfulness.  Give authentic, timely and relevant praise to work colleagues, family members or neighbours.  Try for once a day, but don't hesitate to seize the opportunity as often as it strikes you.

2.  Make time for reflection - all too often we motor through our work days, rush home to keep the home fires burning, and end up going to bed without taking a pause the think about the day.  Finding 5, 10 or 15 minutes to reflect will make a world of difference in your ability to stay balanced and mentally healthy.

3.  Take care of your body - if ever there was a time to eat healthier, cut down on your alcohol consumption, drink more water, etc...this is it.  Eat better; go for a walks; be mindful of the vessel within which we move through our lives.

4.  Keep moving forward - it is so easy to get sucked into the vortex of the negative things that are happening around us.  In a blink of an eye we can find ourselves regressing and focusing on things that stall our forward momentum.  Trust the process, keep moving forward, and be mindful that the best way to get through a storm is to get to the other side of it.

5.  Be a positive force - Valerie at The Redpoll Centre went around to everyone's work station yesterday morning saying something nice .  "It's World Compliment Day," she said, smiling broadly.  Generate positive energy in the office, on the street, and in the home.  Find the fun, encourage the heart, veer away from the negative.

Consider making mindfulness part of your daily practice, in whatever way the word speaks to you.  It will help you and it will help others.


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