By Jamie Kirk

Let’s jump right into it; we are not present. We are not living in the present moment. We are not living our best lives. We are not authentic with ourselves or with others. We are living in a time that promotes only the good stuff, avoids the bad, and does not even scratch the surface of what is really going on at our core. 

Generally speaking, our minds are wandering all the time, either reviewing the past or planning for the future. We can’t enjoy what is going on because we are looking to our left and our right, to see what others are doing. We’ve become less present with our current situation and fixated on someone else’s present moment. When you are mindful, you are not concerned about ANYONE else. When you are mindful, you are dedicated and committed to the present moment and noticing when your mind wanders off. 

We are all reading articles and hearing horror stories about addiction to social media. Checking our phones every 60 seconds, pulling down to refresh, seeing who has just posted an IG story, who just checked into the airport, etc. But yet, here we are, aware of the pitfalls, and walking right into the eye of the storm and feeling stuck. 

Stuck in our way of thinking, stuck in the way it feels when we get the “right” kinda attention, which feels good. Stuck in the way we can’t get past old feelings, stuck in the way we can’t get over old loves, stuck in the way we can’t make more money, stuck in the way we allow others to treat us less than we deserve and just plain ole stuck of being afraid to change. 

Being mindful is becoming very cliché. There are so many books, blogs, and post about “mindfulness meditation.” I support the teachings, and I think the approach to being present is spot on. We are living in a time where our lives are so very stressful that we have a hard time relaxing our bodies and calming our minds. Obviously, not being relaxed and always “on” can put us at a high risk of heart disease, stroke, and other illnesses. It’s no wonder the art of being mindful is taking off – heck, it works. 

We focus so much of our efforts on the exterior or the part that people see. We hit the gym; we get boob jobs, we get hair extensions, hair plugs, tummy tucks, implants, and a ton of other make-over crap. But that is because we are used to being judged. We are used to folks showing us if they “like” us or scroll right on by. If they swipe right, sweet, and if they swipe left, too bad/too sad. We are conditioned to do things with others in mind. We take pictures, take trips, buy cars, choose mates, sometimes based on what others will accept or approve of. We do not take enough time to really hone in and decide if our decisions are being driven by love or fear. Obviously, everything in our lives needs to be there, in unwavering love. If there is a hint of fear, there is a hint of discomfort. Life is way too short to have any area, personal or work be grounded in distress. 

Like all ways to be our best selves, it takes discipline, it takes courage, and it takes consistency. It takes dedication and patience when practicing mindfulness. The reason is just like most other areas in our lives: you don’t eat the fruit, the day you plant the seed. The effects of mindfulness can be better felt over time and a committed approach to training the wandering mind to keep coming back to the present, without judgment. After all, it’s really had to be alone with our thoughts. Sometimes our thoughts are not pleasant and don’t become a reality until we admit to ourselves what the issues are. 

Don’t get me wrong; I think mindfulness is great, but just like being vegan, it ain’t for everybody. Some people get more stressed out, trying to be present and in the moment. Anxiety kicks in, the mind takes off, and the next thing you know, a panic attack can set in. Although mindfulness is not about always being happy, positive, and upbeat, it is an approach to the acknowledgment of being happy, positive, and upbeat. Just taking a few minutes every day to show gratitude for all that is. 

Mindfulness is about noticing what happens one moment at a time, the easy, the crappy, the difficult and life-threatening, the painful and the joyful. It’s about building your internal muscles to be present and awake in your life. Consider mindfulness as a fitness routine that positively impacts your mind, your body, and your soul.