So last Sunday my family and I went to the Circle V animal rights and vegan festival at the Fonda Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. It was an event put on by Moby and Mercy for Animals. Now in describing the event it probably sounds pretty stereotypical and it totally was. All the LA hipsters and vegans showed up and it was pretty crowded. I always like to be honest in everything I do and in being honest I am going to say that the event was a solid alright. It was mainly food trucks and tents, with only a few vendors. Most of these vegan fests are small things and I know that, but since it was an event put on by Moby in Hollywood I kind of expected a little bit more. We still had fun though. Lunch was from the food truck Falasophy. I had a wonderful falafel pita with a side of Brussels Sprouts that had some kind of Sriracha sauce on them. I loved the Brussels Sprouts and they were giant to! Then we walked around to the vendors, my dad bought a T-Shirt. Even the quality of the vendors wasn't what I expected. The heat of the day got to me and I was fading fast, so was the rest of my family. So we headed out after only about an hour there and went home. I had a fun time and you know it's hit or miss with these events.
Anyways those were just my thoughts on this weekend's activity with the family, but today's post is about mindfulness. Which I actually haven't specifically talked about in quite awhile. But, I think it's important to bring up again seeing as how we are going into the holiday season. The season where commitments are forgotten.
I love the holiday's, but they are NOT a time to simply spend three months eating whatever you want, doing nothing beneficial for yourself, and only having "fun." Fun that is actually not fulfilling, you're just cheating yourself. We do make these promises to ourselves going into this season that we're are going to stay on top of our diet. That we will only let a few cheat days happen. And by the way I think cheat days are a terrible idea. It's a waste of time that does not have any relation to proper health. Cheat days imply that you're not truly committed, that on those days you're letting yourself slip back into old habits. Like I always point out if a heroin addict just out of recovery had a "cheat day," well it wouldn't be a cheat day would it? He or she would have FAILED their sobriety.
So we do make these promises in life to ourselves that we will stay on track with our health or with our training, but if you notice it's hard to keep them. Very hard! Sometimes it's just easier to quit, right? WRONG! The way you stay committed here when the going gets tough is through mindfulness. Through a peacefully present acceptance of what is transpiring so that you can let it pass by like clouds to live completely in the moment. So let's go over some simple ways to incorporate little mindfulness tricks throughout your day.
Are you getting a little stressed or unmotivated? Well use this technique to recenter yourself in what your doing, boring or exciting, so that you can get through it with a little different perspective. Sit quietly and take a deep breath, then look around you and calmly pick three objects to acknowledge from where you sit. Describe them in your head. What do they look like? What do you think they would feel like if you were to touch them? What would their texture be? Are they heavy? Light?
This helps to refocus you onto what you are doing and make sure that you realize that while what you are doing may seem overwhelming or monotonous, there really is a huge depth to things if you take the time to acknowledge them.
This one is the classic and the simple one. You can and should do this more than once throughout your day to center yourself. Simply sit or stand still and close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and count one, then let it out and count two. Continue until you reach ten. This may look and seem weird, but I guarantee that if you focus on the breath and every aspect of it. It's little variances and feelings. Accept it and enjoy it, because once you open your eyes again you will be refocused.
Remember however that outside distractions are not to be blocked out, instead let them float by, but don't interact with them. It takes practice, but this is just a mindfulness trick not a full practice session. You're simply centering yourself throughout your day.
Breathe In, Say, Breath Out, Repeat:
I've always liked this technique. Take in a deep breath and say in your mind or quietly to yourself, "I am awake." Then let the rest of your breath out slowly. Breathe in again and say, "I am aware." Let out the rest of your breath. Finally, breathe in one last time and say, "I am present." Let your breath out.
Get the Blood Flowing:
This one combines activity and mindfulness. If you have a job or are in a situation that makes you sit for a long while. Try to stand up every hour and get your blood flowing. Enjoy the time away from work and focus on what you are doing. Enjoy it. Walk around, do some pushups, jumping jacks, stretches, etc.
This last one is vital, I believe, to incorporate into your day. Sit still and close your eyes, then refocus on your breath and let everything else wash away. Next, focus on the different parts of your body. Starting with the crown of your head and working your way down to your feet. You're not trying to change anything, instead you are just becoming aware of yourself.
So those are some techniques that are simple ways to center yourself throughout your day to stay committed and focused on what you're doing. Because, it's vital to stay present and if you mix these up and add them to your day you will take steps towards that. But, don't just do this. Block out time each day to meditate fully. Read other posts and listen to podcast episodes where I have talked about this and do your own research, but make sure to make time to meditate (I like the morning).
So remember this holiday season that your present to yourself isn't to cheat, but to stay committed to the changes you wish to see and find YOUR true path.