28 February 2013

why mindfulness?

A few weeks ago, I started to brainstorm all of the areas of my life I'd like to improve. Here's a peak at my list...

I'd like to be more productive.
I'd like to be less stressed. 
I'd like to experience less tension in my neck and shoulders.
I'd like to procrastinate less.
I'd like to be more creative.
I'd like to be more engaged in my daily activities.
I'd like to be a better listener and communicator.
I'd like to be a better mom, student, friend, disciple, employee, wife, sister, daughter.
I'd like to be more content.
I'd like to feel my intellect expand.
I'd like to be more spiritual.
I'd like to feel less scattered.
I'd like to "flow".
I'd like to eat healthier.
I'd like to be more tidy and less cluttered.

Intimidating.

As this "need improvement" list bounced back and forth between the walls of my mind, I felt myself regressing. In those moments of dwelling on my "should do" list, I felt myself drifting farther from all of the things I wanted to be. Nearing my ideals appeared impossible. My brain flipped through images of my past self, primarily scenes I wish I could change. The burden of hopelessness seemed to push me down.

A brief moment of clarity replaced the hefty load in my mind. "Why are you thinking about yesterday? You have now. You always have now." With that I realized how often I live in the past. I think about aspects of it that I miss, e.g. how free and alive I felt in Tucson. I mull over what I'd do differently, e.g. how I wouldn't tell that lady that I had a prepubescent crush on her son. What about today? My today is filled with so much to be grateful for, so much to rejoice about, so much to find joy in. I miss out on that joy when my mind wanders elsewhere. I want to learn to savor my day-to-day life, and to live it fully.

So, this year I'm working on living in the now. I firmly believe that in working to be more mindful, I'll find myself moving toward my ideals in other areas. I think Mindful Jade will be a more spiritual Jade, a more creative Jade, a more relaxed Jade, and so on. I guess we'll see.

And so, I embark.

25 February 2013

a quote to kick off your week

[via]

My absolute favorite.

19 February 2013

i'm embarking on a quest

resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something

Less than two months ago the winter air was full of resolutions. "This year I will..." I'm admittedly a sucker for resolutions. Scattered around my life are lists of things I'd like to do better, lists of changes to be made, lists that start "I wish to be..." I write my lists with intent, but my resolutions are rarely a part of my life come July. I'd feel bad about that fact, but am comforted by knowing that more than half of resolution makers are in the same boat as me.

This year my life is more complicated than ever before. I'm a bona fide adult with bills to pay, mouths to feed, and less time than ever. Introducing my son into the world has made my pre-baby busy-ness look like Spring Break. A list of resolutions would have been shuffled under a mess of to-do's by January 10. So, I decided to redefine my determination. This year I'm on a quest.

quest: a long or arduous search for something

The word quest itself implies a sort of romance. Medieval knights set out on quests to save damsels, right? They fought dragons and thieves, wielded swords and carried shields. They rode smooth white stallions through harsh countryside. They toiled and labored for their end goal.

I like the definition of quest. It fits what I have in mind for my "resolution" this year. I will toil and labor for my end goal.

Are you ready for that unveiling of this resolution? I am.
With more fanfare than necessary... 
I intent to spend 2013 developing and refining the skill of mindfulness

I'm searching for clarity, composure, and peace. I am certain the journey will be long and will be arduous. I know this is something I'll have to work at. It will require continual, conscious effort. I will have to engage myself in constant pursuit of a type of awareness I am not accustomed to. But, I'm thinking it will be worth it.

To raise accountability, I am going to write about this embarkation right here. Stay tuned.

13 February 2013

reminder

This morning I was reminded of a "Note" I wrote in Facebook six years ago (almost to the day). I was so wise in the moments that I typed that night.

I remember distinctly being filled with inspiration as I prepared for bed that Friday. I remember overflowing with hope and peace. The comfort I was being given had to go somewhere. My twenty year old self chose a quite public forum. I'm not sure why. Did I hope to uplift others? Was I seeking some place I could easily return to? Was I looking for attention? Whatever reasons I had, I'm grateful to have rediscovered this gem. 

Maybe it will help you in some way today. It has uplifted me this morning. 

I put a few of my favorite bits in bold

i had a few thoughts, thoughts i don't want to forget the next time i'm discouraged.

i believe that every person has the choice to make each experience worthwhile and beneficial. i think that we have the choice to respond to circumstances and situations in a way that perpetuates our growth and development. by the same token, we can choose to let moments in time (moments that would seem like dust if we could see the eternities ahead of us) bring us down. a good friend of mine, ms. lauren [anne] holley, once shared with me something she had heard. she said, "there are only neutral event. we choose positive or negative reactions." i don't think that i agree with this whole-heartedly. there can be horrible events, devastating events (e.g. the 9-11 attacks) but, we can choose our reactions (banding together as a united nation, or tearing down a people that we don't understand). i think this brings about something i agree with that my dear k-pat planted in my head: we can choose to be happy. maybe not happy, but we can choose to be content and at peace. the world can be falling on top of us and each of those there to lift us up falling as well and we can still find comfort. if we choose to. 

the past two weeks have been rough, to say the least, but an amazing thing has happened, something i cannot let myself forget. i have never in my life felt such a whole and complete peace. i feel okay. i feel like i can keep going. i know that i can choose to take the situations around me in stride, a stride that is leading me uphill towards great rewards. i know that the comfort i am experiencing is not temporal. it can be nothing short of divine. i cannot be doing this on my own. in recognizing this and holding onto these truths, even if i come up with no other positive consequences, i will have one and i will be stronger and better because of it. i choose to be better and stronger because of it. the other path wouldn't be worth it. the other path would be choosing to be broken and angry at the world around me. 

another thing i realized this week, in a well-lit discussion with that k-pat, is that a necessary step in happiness is to develop the skill of recognizing the magnitude of the blessings around us. four and a half years ago i was involved in a car accident that took my friend and left my body fighting for life. until fairly recently, i always looked back at that labor day weekend as a time of unfair trials. now i'm working to change that view. it truly is a miracle that i am alive. each doctor that reads my file agrees that i should be dead. the doctor and nurses that worked in my operating room weep when they see me walk and laugh and breathe. they say that there was something beyond them in that room. pondering on this brings me to the conclusion that my life is spectacular. i need to recognize every day as being a blessing, and an opportunity to make something of this miracle. i know that if we could wholly see all that is around us, all the beauty, all the opportunity, all the joy, all the wonders, we would never have a reason to feel sorry for ourselves. we would be justified, though, in feeling sorry for those who cannot see what we have. 

i know that i have a lot. i know that i am blessed girl, not a lucky girl, a blessed girl. i know that i have a family that loves me, and friends that love me, and a Heavenly Father and Savior who love me. i know that i have opportunities to make myself a better person, and i have the choice to take those opportunities. i know that i am happier and more content with myself now than i've ever been. and i know that sureness comes from the knowledge that for the first time in my life i am consciously making an effort to choose the right. i know that life is wonderful.

i am going to try my hardest to hold on to the resolution to be eternally content (even if i'm not always grinning happy). i am going to learn from my mistakes and the mistakes of those around me. i am going to show all of the compassion i possess to all the people i meet. i am going to work to recognize each individual as a spirit of worth in the eyes of the Lord. i am going to be alright.