Recently I said yes to a last minute trip to the Keys with one of my best friends from high school. I was feeling burnt out and disconnected from many things that bring me joy. I was hoping the trip would be a great way to do some self care, connect with nature and practice mindfulness. For me, being in nature is one of the best ways to reset my mindfulness practice.  There is nothing like being in the water, mountains, or forest to remind me to slow down and take it all in… especially with those amazing sunsets in the Keys! Being able to observe all the colors of the sunset is one of my favorite parts of the Keys! I made sure to make time to watch the sunset and practice some Mindful breathing at the same time.

My trip provided me the opportunity to practice all my mindfulness skills! Day one started with paddle boarding! My head swarmed with a bunch of fear thoughts, “Will I be able to do it? What if there are sharks? What if I look ridiculous trying to get on the board?…” I took a deep breath and told myself my only goal was to Observe and Describe the beauty of the day and my surroundings, and if all I could do was float on the board I would practice non-judgement. I reminded myself of the WHAT (observe, describe, participate) and HOW (non-judgmentally, one mindfully, effectively) skills over and over. I never did get to stand on the board, I decided it was more effective for me to enjoy my surroundings by paddling while I sat and enjoyed the amazing view and wildlife underneath me! Practicing non-judgement helped me let go and notice the cool stingrays and appreciate some of the bridges I have driven over time after time from the water! 

On my last day, we stayed at our resort to lounge and relax before heading home. It was so easy to be present because the view was so beautiful, we were able to find chairs that faced the lagoon and ocean with all the amazing blue colors staring back at us! To our surprise we found out our resort had dolphins and dolphin trainers on site! Who isn’t excited to see dolphins? 

Quick back story, I grew up in Florida and have been lucky enough to see dolphins in the wild and dolphins training doing their tricks multiple times. My friend did not grow up in Florida, she had never seen dolphins this close or being trained. For her this experience was new, she was experiencing it for the first time. She was engulfed in all the cute things the dolphins were doing; including talking back to the trainers, watching them flip over on their backs, and noticing how they appeared sad when the trainers left and they began to spit water up to the deck to call them back. As my friend gushed her way through the experience, I was reminded of beginners mind. 

My initial reaction of  “aww dolphins” drew me back into past experiences, and I was honesty unimpressed with something that was truly impressive! I paused and began to see things through my friends perspective, and practiced beginners mind. It completely changed my experience! I was able to feel more joy and found myself truly present in the experience. what a shift! I am so grateful to have DBT skills in my life, especially my mindfulness skills, as they really do improve our lives! 

Please enjoy the video below. It really serves as a great mindfulness practice!