Happy Mindful Year!

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3 steps to a year fill with wonder, excitement, and mindfulness.

The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo has a daily meditation for every day of the year. It was given to me by a dear friend who is now a retired Rabbi. Her spirit still shines bright in this small community of Malibu. While I received the book a few months ago and glanced through it’s pages here and there, I was looking forward to January 1 when I could start from the beginning. The first day is all about being grateful to be alive, a sentiment we forget too often.

Nepo suggests we take a moment and mediate where we can hear the outdoors, feel the breeze, and listen to the birds. He recommends we take in the fact that, in Nature, there is only one species of human beings. There are countless plants, animals, minerals, particles, and more, yet we are the only ones who get to experience our own being-ness. It’s quite a miracle and it’s not to be forgotten.

I was so happy reading his passage and suggestion meditation because I firmly believe every morning we wake up we should all be grateful that we did. Like his passage suggests, we could die today and come back as an ant, or an antelope, or a spider, or a rock. I see far too many people get caught up in the daily rat race or their menial problems and lose sight of the miracle of life.

Here are 3 ways to stay present, be mindful, and experience the wonder of life!

Pay Attention

Sounds simple, right? Yet, most accidents happen because we’re not paying attention. There is a famous saying from my spiritual neophyte days, “When doing the dishes, do the dishes. When sweeping the floor, sweep the floor.” The idea is to be mindful of what you’re doing. Don’t think about it as if the task is beneath you or start working on your to do list while you have a grand opportunity to give your full attention to one particular project or person for that matter.

Listen

Listening is one of the most amazing gifts we can offer another human being. Listening is the gift of our attention. The next time you’re in a conversation, see if you can listen until the person finishes their thought, then give it space, let there be a moment of silence to land, then respond. See how that feels for you, notice the other person’s reaction. I bet you’ll be surprised. Most people jump in during the middle of a paragraph before someone even finishes their thought. Let there be space.

Be Silent

By now you’ve figured out that I’m pro-meditation, haha! One of the greatest treats I’ve found is the beauty in silence. When I began my meditation journey over 20 years ago, I could not sit still without playing music or lighting candles, or creating some ritual. Rituals are fantastic and sometimes necessary in the beginning, but eventually I cracked open the richness and beauty that lies within. I would drive to work early to sit on the lawn outside of my job and take time to pause. I would notice people walking by, birds doing their thing, a squirrel foraging for acorns. During lunch I would go over to the UCLA botanical gardens and listen to the stream.

It was and still is the simple things that are magical. Yes, technology is pretty magical too, but not even close to the power and profundity of spending time in silence. So this year, make some time for yourself, create the silence and allow your world to open from within. I’m always here to guide you along the journey. Feel free to message me @teddymcdonald, you can also grab my free video course on meditation basics here and download the new Run Mindful app.

Start here…

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