How to Practice Mindfulness

There’s something about bike riding in a sexy helmet that makes me think about life.

Maybe it’s the breeze on my skin or the cars rushing by that makes my spirit whisper, “Slow down.” By bike, life is slower. My errands are more enjoyable. While I ride, I feel aware and grateful for my life.

At the same time, I realize being able to ride my bike and slow down is truly a luxury. Not everyone can slow down (yet). In today’s world, slow living really is a luxury, though you might not think of it that way.

Each time I complete an errand by bike, I want to call all my friends and gush about how great I feel. I never do. The fact is, if you are a working mother, running errands by bike probably won’t be convenient. Especially, it seems, if you can’t figure out how your life could ever be slower.

Slow down slow down slow down slow down slow down … Maybe if I say it ten times fast, it will happen.

I know from experience: Slowing down can feel elusive. Even without a day job, I still have days where I rush from task to task, throttling along by car instead of bike.

But moments like today, when I’m wearing my sexy helmet, bring perspective to everything I do.

Too many people live their lives without intentionality or thought. They rarely find a quiet moment to sit in meditation or solitude and examine their life – who they are and who they are becoming. -Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist

Reacting to life

Is it possible to live everyday with thought and intention? I believe it is, but at the same time, it is not easy to do.

When I took off my sexy helmet to write this post, I was still tired from the ride, but I felt so free. Examining your life is rejuvenating. To live a happy life, it is, in my opinion, necessary.

When you take time to examine your life, you find out how you want to live your life – not the life of someone down the street or a skinny, air-brushed model on TV. Your life. Doing things you’d be proud to remember.

To avoid reacting to life, take time to engage in mindfulness. Think about the air, the sun, the rusty screw on the sidewalk – everything. Try one of these ideas:

Sit in solitude.

With two kids, a husband and dog, my bedroom is the only realistic option for solitude indoors. The door locks solidly.

If the weather is good, venture outdoors and walk down the block. Tune into the sounds around you. Don’t force reflection. It comes naturally once you’re able to listen.

Tune out distraction with music.

Close your eyes, put in some noise blocking ear buds and open Pandora. This is a good option when solitude isn’t possible. Again, don’t force anything. The important thing is listening.

Write in a notebook.

Jot down whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t have to make sense. There’s something very therapeutic about seeing your thoughts on paper.

Turn your face to the sun.

Despite what you may think, unblocked sunlight is healthy for you, as long as you do it in small doses. (A couple minutes may be all you need.)

Soak it up in a park, on the porch, in the yard or even the beach if you’re lucky. Avoid overexposure by checking the UV index in your part of the country.

Complete an errand by bike.

If you live in the city, use the roads – sidewalks are unsafe. In my city, they are uneven and rocky. Make yourself visible to drivers with bright colored clothing, use bike signals and wear a sexy helmet.

Invest time in yourself.

Instead of turning on the tube, turn on your mind and read a book. Here are some tips to make reading for pleasure a blissful diversion.

Increase knowledge and awareness by choosing one of from Tammy’s great book list.

Think about your past, present and future.

Note the events that had an impact on your current lifestyle. Think about the way you’re living now and your day to day interactions. Next, write down some hopes for the future.

Do you want to spend more time at home? Plan quality time with the kids? Learn new recipes? Write it all down.

Ask yourself …

What are some reasons to celebrate?

Where do I find joy?

How can I make a life that’s filled with even more?

The best guidebook is no guidebook

You don’t need a guidebook to examine your life. You simply need the time and space to be you.

Maybe you’re living your best life, or maybe not. Maybe you’re in a place that feels right, or one that’s wrong. I can’t be the judge of that. It’s up to you to pay attention.

The lessons learned, answers, solutions and experiments ahead are blissfully yours.

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Photo by RelaxingMusic

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1 Jenni April 26, 2011 at 4:53 am

That feeling you describe is exactly how I feel as I walk to and from work every day. People think I do it because it is good for the environment. Yes, that is true, but it is also very good for me. :)

2 Melissa April 26, 2011 at 9:09 am

Wonderful, Jenni! And you get stronger and healthier at the same time.
Thanks for stopping by!

3 Mandy April 26, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Great post. Where does one find a sexy helmet?? I think if I had one of those I would ride my bike more!

4 Melissa April 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Well, I bought mine at the local bike shop. When I say “sexy,” it’s really in the eye of the beholder. I say, pick one out, a white or silver one, and YOU make it sexy. :-)

5 Living the Balanced Life April 26, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Great post! Don’t think I’ll be riding a bike anytime soon, but I love your ideas about slowing down and taking time to think and BE. Great tips!
How to be an active participant in your own life

6 Melissa April 27, 2011 at 7:38 am

Thanks Bernice!

7 Anna Barlowe April 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Hmm, I think I’m doing most of that except sitting out in the sun. That would just melt my beautiful wickedness. I prefer meditating like a mushroom indoors, I’m afraid. But if I did go out, I would definitely wear a sexy hat. Thanks for reminding me. :)

8 Melissa May 2, 2011 at 10:17 am

Hi Anna,
We are all beautiful and unique flowers – so if you need to meditate indoors, there’s nothing wrong with that!
Especially if you’re wearing a sexy hat. :-)

9 Michelle Bross May 6, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Running is my meditation. The answers are within; I just have to be quiet so I can hear them.

10 Melissa May 9, 2011 at 9:55 am

Hi Michelle,
Running is definitely a mindful exercise. Now that spring is here, I will have to make time for running again.
Thanks for stopping by,

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