It’s Friday the 13th! The exclamation point is a happy exclamation point as I have a love affair with Friday the 13th. I don’t look at it as a day of bad luck at all. It’s more like an interlude between Halloweens. Unfortunately without the costumes, candy, and parties, but I still enjoy the mysterious and unexplainable and some good ol’ fashioned getting the crap scared out of me.
There’s a reason we have an opioid epidemic. Humans don’t like to feel pain and our society has told us we shouldn’t feel pain. Physical or emotional. Emotional is usually what I focus on, but since physical pain is inextricably linked to emotional pain, it’s important to understand how mindfulness can help ease physical pain too.
We all have urges. To say things. To do things. To eat chocolate. Or cheese. Or broccoli. To have a glass of wine. Or La Croix. To jump off or on things. To pet a dog. To have sex. To smell flowers. To scream at someone who’s pissed us off. To throw up the middle finger in LA traffic…
Yesterday, I went for a bike ride. It was as a part of Ciclavia, an event in Los Angeles that shuts down miles of Los Angeles streets to cars so that people can bicycle, skateboard, roller skate/blade, run, walk, etc. Long as it’s person and not motor powered, you can move about however you want. I’m a big fan of this Ciclavia. It’s an opportunity to safely explore areas of Los Angeles in a different way.
I’ve been a bit tense this week. Maybe a lot tense. I think many of us have been. There’s been a lot going on. More than I’m currently prepared to tackle in one little written article. Which can lead to also feeling helpless.
Last week I quit something. Something kinda big. A work project. Because it wasn’t good for me.
Historically, I haven’t always been very good at quitting things. I grew up with a belief that you see things through ‘til the end of time. Some might call that loyal and noble. Others might call it stupid. I’d say it’s a bit of both depending on the situation. But that’s all judgment anyway and we’re trying not to do that here.
Or the miracle of quiet.
Growing up, I just had to live in New York City. I’d never been and I can’t remember how or when I came up with this idea. All I knew was it certainly wasn’t happening in the village of Greenbush, Michigan, whatever “it” was. NYC was where I’d make my mark. I came nowhere close to convincing my parents that this was a good idea and spent the entirety of my childhood in the sleepy little beach side village (Legit village. Not tiny city or town or whatever else you can call a place where people live together.).
I’ve always been a people person. Even though I certainly have my introverted side too. I just love human beings in all their glory, hilarity, and messiness. I find people absolutely fascinating, which is important since boring is my kryptonite, and I can generally find something to like about everyone. If I don’t like you, then you started it. And you know who you are!
Before minimalism was all the rage, I was already something of a minimalist. At least in terms of physical objects. Maybe this just comes along with growing up with very little, but possessions have never been as important to me as they are to many. I generally only buy things that bring me joy and easily let go of what no longer serves me. Marie Kondo would be so proud!
This is about gaining awareness of how important adolescence is to our human development and how mindfulness can contribute to being a healthier human being overall. This is useful whether you’re currently an adolescent, going to be one someday, interact with them, or were one and find yourself or others around you turning back into one when triggered.
There’s some truth to the song lyrics “nobody walks in LA,” but I actually love to walk in this city. And everywhere else I travel. It’s a fantastic way to fully experience your surroundings while getting you to wherever it is you’re going. I wrote awhile ago about how much I love running as a way to explore areas, but I wanted to touch on walking today because I think that’s a less intimidating form of movement for many.
Mindful confession: I’m writing this as I watch the NCAA men’s basketball final. Or more accurately, I’m trying to write and finish this during halftime. I don’t have high hopes I can do that in 15 minutes, but I’m willing to give it a shot.
Starting to write while watching basketball got me thinking about the irony. One of the keys to practicing mindfulness is to do one thing at a time.
I don’t know about y’all, but my Monday started with a bang!
I woke before sunrise and am booked straight up until well past sunset tonight with work stuff. When I’m this busy with little space in between activities, I don’t always function at my highest level. Knowing this, I decided I needed some intentional breathing during each transition today and I wanted to share one in particular with you.
We exist in a time where oversharing is the hot thing to do. Social media, the Internet as a whole, reality television. There are a billion opportunities to glimpse everyone’s every thought or hourly selfie. It makes me uncomfortable. Not because I’m against some good old fashioned sharing, but I think this oversharing is often cloaked as authenticity.
What mindfulness does is it allows you to see the experience for what it truly is. Without all the extras I was initially throwing on it. Mindfulness in this particular instance was an opportunity for me.
This morning I went to the gym. Not entirely unusual as I’m making it a habit to do so. Even though I despise gyms! Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. I can think of worse places to spend my time. Jail. Nuclear reactors. Office meetings. But since I don’t own a bunch of weight equipment and I’ve realized the importance of body building (Or simply to build stronger muscles to avoid injury from other more fun physical activities.), I got a gym membership.
The painted ladies have taken over Southern California! I’ve seen them flitting about, showing off their gorgeous wings all over LA. I can’t tell you how many times a day I’ve stopped whatever I’m doing to simply gaze at them and take this special experience in.
Part of the beauty of life is its messiness and completely involving yourself in that messiness. It’s joyful and sad and frustrating and surprising and exciting and angering and scary and full of love and adventure and challenges and ups and downs.
A body scan meditation is a mindfulness practice that brings awareness to the body in the present moment. It focuses on the physical sensations we feel in every part of our body. It can be done in a short amount of time if needed to reduce intense emotions. Or it can be practiced for a lengthier amount of time (30-40 minutes) to delve deeper into mindfulness practice and create more peace and awareness overall.