By: Beatriz Craven, Guest Blogger
I take a seat at church. It has been a few weeks since my last visit. My weekends lately have been consumed with studying for this horrible board exam I have coming up. The live music kicks off and I immediately begin to feel better. My heart starts to soften, and I become more aware of the tension I'm carrying in my shoulders. They're still knotted and tight from being slumped over reading notes for hours. The pastor begins to speak with us about taking a moment to stop. To be present. And I realize in that moment that I want to cry. My whole body wants to cry: "omg, yes... please... and THANK YOU! I've been needing this. Oh, how I've been needing this." An invitation to be quiet. Be still. It was only then that I noticed how long I had been running around in my mind trying to keep focused with my studying and thus keep any anxiety under control. Clearly, I could afford to rework my strategy.
There has been an exciting wave to hit psychotherapy that emphasizes exactly what my pastor was referring to and so graciously invited us into. It's called mindfulness meditation. And to many of my clients, myself included, these moments of true presence with yourself can feel like giving your soul a tall glass of the purest water you've ever tasted. It's so refreshing. It has the power to get us more in touch with ourselves. To see more clearly. To feel more grounded and connected in the moment. Can you imagine? We plan and plan for the future and have so many thoughts whirling through our heads on a given day. Can you picture how profoundly amazing it would be to just slow down and connect to that living, present moment? With practice, this mindful intention can help us break free from the unnecessary clutter in our lives. While productivity is surely not the intent of the practice, by being kinder and more attuned to our bodies and the living moment, we can proceed more effectively and successfully in our lives.
See if you might benefit from taking a moment to yourself. Find a quiet spot. And be calm. Be quiet. Be still. Let your heart soften. Let the compassion grow into a radiant shine. And see the amazing transformation that can come from it.
To learn more about this wonderful practice check out:
Peace Is Every Step by Tich Nhat Hanh
Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
And anything else these two have ever written.
Beatriz completed her PhD in Counseling Psychology. She works with college students at Sam Houston State University and finds incredible meaning in her work as a therapist. She is an avid life enthusiast, loving wife, and movie fanatic.
Featured image courtesy Beatriz Craven