On a mission to retrieve an Amazon package the other day, I noticed these exquisite butterfly wings amongst the leaves on my porch.
In that moment, the end of this lovely being’s life had profound meaning to me. I felt connected to the entirety of the universe and the cycles of life/death & metamorphosis. In this moment I understood life.
I immediately recognized this acute awareness as the experience of a level of wise-mind that I had previously only conceptually understood. This is what it means to belly fully connected to the universe, in the present moment, on purpose and without judgment!
In DBT wise mind is the state of mind we strive towards. Wise mind requires the integration of both emotional and logical data to make the most effective decisons . It is a similar concept to intuition in that it is your truest sense of knowing. It can also be seen as the perception of your ancestors through your eyes devoid of societal conditioning.
In that moment, my wise mind felt stronger than ever.
They say a mindfulness practice is a lifelong journey.
From a biological standpoint, mindfulness is our default state of being. Unfortunately… We live in a society that glorifies multitasking & the grind. From birth on we are exposed to technology, advertising and all sorts of outside grabs for our attention. Over time our brains become shaped to only hold focus for short periods of time and to bounce rapidly between different topics. Simply because we’re more malleable as consumers (and thus more profitable for capitalism) when we aren’t focused on the here & now.
So how does one get started on the pack bath to mindful being? A mindfulness journey commences with the adaptation of beginners mind. Beginners mind is a willingness to approach things with the curiosity of a child. To accept that there are skills and knowledge deficits within you. To expect that you will need to exert energy and invest time to see measurable gains in this skillset.
The first step is to practice awareness. To make the transition from mindless, automatic living to deliberate, mindful engagement we must first become aware of the times when we aren’t present. We must practice observation of our thoughts, sensations & emotions to be able to notice that we are not currently on the mindful path. Bringing our attention to our internal experience, and practicing the process of labeling these things non-judgmentally is a good first step.
Pay attention to times when you feel stuck – in thought loops, emotional crisis or relational patterns. Being stuck is a symptom of a living in autopilot.
When you first begin practicing mindfulness it’s all about developing your observe and describe skills. The more you practice them the more you strengthen the neural pathways associated with mindful living. Instead being tossed in the winds of your emotions and thoughts – you gain control by bringing awareness to your internal states. When you notice and label thought loops that are occurring, you also begin to snip those old neural pathways they depend upon to control you.
In the beginning, being present can feel completely foreign. It is not typical for us to focus our attention solely on the moment at hand. With practice it becomes easier to access your wise mind and live in the moment. It is an ever changing journey – with clear cut final destination. No matter how long we have practiced – there will always be room for gaining more skill or a deeper understanding.
Where are you on your mindfulness journey? Is Observe & Describe part of your daily routine? When do you find it most helpful? I’d love to hear from you!
For more mindfulness tips, authentic connection & non-judgmental support check out the Thrive Together 2020 FB Group http://www.facebook.com/groups/thrivetogether2020.
Love & Light,
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