I will admit, the idea of mindfulness used to intimidate me. It conjured up images of sitting cross-legged on the floor for hours, trying to think about nothing. (Thinking about nothing is NOT my forte!) While I suppose that certainly could be a version of mindfulness for some, it by no means encompasses the true essence of mindfulness.
Turns out, mindfulness can happen anywhere, anytime, with any number of thoughts or behaviors. In fact, as humans, we’re born with the innate ability to be fully present. When we’re born, we’re highly tuned into what we need – food, sleep, love, attention – truly present in the moment at hand. Over time, we tend to get in our own way by putting situations, emotions, thoughts and behaviors in our path, often causing us to mindlessly veer off course.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
Recently, I have noticed the profound effect that the simple act of checking my little garden has had on me. Whether I peek at it right before the sun comes up or at the end of a long day, my thoughts slow and my body relaxes. I’m fully present as I touch the leaves, peak underneath to test the dirt, inspect the action of some teeny tiny bugs. I tune into the color variations, the blooms that are forming, the differences since yesterday. Even when I notice the plants seem stressed or appear to be fighting a pest of some kind, I’ve become much more curious and less agitated or annoyed.
In the few minutes I spend with my garden, my mind thinks about nothing else.
I am truly mindful.