Recently, I started walking again. I need to drop the winter weight, but more than walking for my body, I’m walking for my brain.
When I walk the thoughts swim lazily into my head, I look at them, acknowledge them and sometimes I even do a little problem solving, but then I let them go. The act of putting one foot in front of the other helps me let it go into the Universe. Let go and let Universe.
I’m not a good meditator. I know, it’s part of what I teach. And I know, what I give attention to grows. But it’s true, I’m not a good meditator. I think when you teach something everyone assumes that you’re really disciplined and good about it. Not me. Sometimes I teach because it’s what I need to learn.
I’m human and oh, so flawed. I have good intentions, but the number of days that I actually sit in order to quiet my mind through the beautiful practice of meditation is embarrassing. It’s not that I can’t quiet my mind, I can. It’s not that I can’t sit for long periods, I can. I may not be an A+ meditator, but I can do it. The problem is I won’t. Or more honestlyk, I’ll find a million things to do, like clean the drains, instead.
So here’s what I do instead. I believe in mindfulness in motion. Meditation does not have to mean emptying your brain for twenty, thrity or sixty minutes. You can observe the brain. You can visualize. It doesn’t have to be hard. And yet, I somehow believe if it’s not hard it’s doing me any good. And that’s balderdash.
Any time I get to take ten minutes for the express purpose of focusing/centering/quieting it’s good. It’s helping me. It’s helping those around me, because it’s easier to be around me when I’m focused and present. It’s good for my kids, my ex, my girlfriend, my students, my friends, the college kid at the check-out. It’s just good. And even better, it feels awesome. But the problem is I forget how awesome it feels and then I don’t do it again for a week.
Choosing to be mindful in an activity helps my brain with it’s over-active squirrel cage. It helps me remember that being present is so much better than losing my day to errant thoughts. The lists that my brain wants to make are stressful, the ever-growing list of shoulds is painful. When I quiet my brain I don’t have that stress or pain.
I’ve learned that multi-tasking isn’t good for me. It gets my ego involved in my activities. It’s not good for my ego, my productivity level or my kid’s feelings. When I have a simple, easy approach things go more smoothly.
It doesn’t have to be walking. It can be scrubbing the floors. It can be folding the laundry. But when I do those things my ego gets involved. I can’t just let my mind forcus on what it needs to and I can’t just observe the brain. I have to think about the best way to do things. I have to think about what’s next and how much more I can get done. I start that list in my head. The list always gets me in trouble.
So, I take a walk. I clear my head. I observe my surroundings. I observe my brain observing my surroundings. I look at gardens and yards, houses and dogs. I just let myself Be.
And that’s a rare thing for me these days, but it’s what I’m focusing on this month. One of the greatest gifts I give myself is the ability to just Be. I have to let go of the negative self talk, the need to Do, the need to fill a role, to stroke my ego or to hear my parent’s voices in the back of my head. Just Be.
I can Do and just Be. I can work and just Be.The work is to find that place in my heart/brain/body where I am enough. Where the simple act of walking and observing is enough. When I find that place where my heart tells me I’m enough I release that need to be more, do more, be smarter, funnier, more productive, more witty and happier. When I am in that place I am powerful, strong, balanced, sexy, happy, whole, relaxed and free. That’s a great payback from a simple walk.