I like the quiet mornings before daybreak best. The world is quiet. These are the moments where I can sit with my thoughts. There is less judgement, for I’ve given myself permission to think within my mind deeply. These thoughts and feelings haven’t been tainted from the day yet. No one has had the opportunity to dip their toes into my energy. No one has given me praise or voiced any disappointment. This is the energy I seek. It is the slow ticking of a fan. It is the light blue-gray that hides itself behind the outlines of palm trees and suburban two-story homes. It is the peace in the loss of expectations. It moves slowly. It allows me to move slowly. As a result, I allow myself to move slowly.
This is mindfulness. I close my eyes and become present. I can feel every fiber of fabric beneath my toes as I clench them on the ends of this bedsheet. I hear every revolution of the fan and how it begins to turn in sync with each small breeze that makes contact with the surface of my forearms, the quick tick tick tick tick, like that of a small band of horses chasing sunrises on a shoreline.
I open my eyes and the sky has turned a pale shade of pink as the sun makes her way into the day. These several moments have changed my day. They have set the tone to one of unspoken gratitude, the art of being present. I am grateful. I am calm. I have given myself permission to be alone; I have given myself permission to be present.
I have the entire day to be concerned about deadlines, quality of work, prioritization of tasks, errands that must be completed within the small window of time between leaving work and closing hours. However, this morning I gave myself deep breathes in the cavernous spaces of my body where I feel pain or anxiety. I gave myself empathy and forgiveness in places within my heart where I was previously reactionary instead of vulnerable. I gave myself time to close my eyes and find peace.
Mindfulness is a conscious process. It is essential for our wellbeing. It is taking time out of our day to prioritize our well-being; it is advocating for a healthy mindset. It is eliminating, reducing, or modifying stimuli that keep us from being our best self. It is hard. It is necessary. Unfortunately, most of us do not allow ourselves these moments because we label them “indulgent” instead of “necessary.” Notice I say indulgent, as if being mindful and present is an unneeded luxury, time we do not have access to. The reality is that we all have opportunities in our day to claim a minute to mindfulness, yet we cheat ourselves of this peace.
What if you woke up just three minutes early? What if you ended lunch five minutes early? What if during your work break, you sat outside and listened to the world around you (even if for just one minute)? What if when you were walking to your car you took note of the hues of the sky, the form of the clouds or the shape of the leaves from one solitary tree branch?
How would it change the way you feel?
Try it. Allow yourself the moments of mindfulness. Give yourself permission to be present.