• Dr. Jill Bakke


Before I crossed the street when I was a child, my parents always made me STOP at the side of the road, LOOK both ways, and then GO. This is a form of mindfulness. We are present at such moments, acting in our awareness.

We can practice mindfulness in so many simple ways that give us unexpected pleasure. If we feel the texture and warmth of the suds and water as we wash the dishes, we may suddenly discover dishwashing is enjoyable. Scrubbing the bathroom floor is not one of my favorite chores, but someone once told me to think of it as preparing a blank canvas for great art. As I mindfully prepared that bathroom floor into a canvas, I began to enjoy the task. Whether the great art ever arrived is debatable. These are simple examples.

However, experiences and times exist when I have expectations that make mindfulness extremely necessary. Awareness of my expectations serves as a red flag, a warning to become mindful of my actions and how I am reacting. Expectations are formed by my thoughts. The thoughts come from the teachings accepted from society, religion, and my parents or from a deep desire. But those are not necessarily accurate or helpful. I often need to go deeper to see if my reactions hinder a solution to the problem.

Because my expectations have led me into difficulties, I have learned to ask myself, “How can I see this situation in its truth?” Only by changing my perception am I able to do this. Oprah Winfrey said, “The tiniest change in perspective can transform a life.” How can this be done?

1. To begin you need to give up thinking you “should” see or act about something one specific way. Our way is almost always a limited viewpoint that brings unhappiness. “I should be on time. I should not be late because that is rude.” So you make your appointment on time, and then you project your negative viewpoints upon the other person if they are late. They didn’t want to come. They were rude, etc.

Dropping the “shoulds,” widens your awareness to see the entire picture, at which point adjusting your reactions to what has occurred is easier. When we look with fresh eyes, we detach from troublesome perceptions. We don’t stress out about events over which we have no control. We begin to understand that mindfulness is helpful and want to practice this beneficial ability, one we are not born with. Mindfulness isn’t hard, but it takes practice.

2. So often when faced with an issue that makes us unhappy, our perception is, “this is all there is. It will never change.” We must dismiss that interpretation and allow ourselves to see the moment as it is. Focus on the moment at hand, not what may occur later. Remember that nothing lasts forever, nor do we always know how the situation will change. The more negatively we think about the issue, the more chance our energy will draw results we do not want.

3. It is important take the personal out of an event and to look carefully at what you are dealing with. Seek other viewpoints. or example, you agree to meet someone at 5 pm, and they showed up at 6. Don’t judge. When you ask why they were late, the answer usually is something reasonable to accept, and you will think, “My friend is late. I have been late.” It is important to take the personal out of the event. Don’t see yourself as a victim. What is, simply is.

Finally, omit the personal from most, if not all, of life that bothers you. For example: It is raining today. It didn’t deliberately decide to rain on your picnic. It just rained. It is raining all around, not just on your special event. Simply smiling and saying, “That’s the way life is” can bring a different perspective to the forefront, one which allows you to accept it, and perhaps even enjoy the rain. When we are mindful, we bear witness to what is. With acceptance, without saying it should be different, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to it. If we can do that, we are literally creating the space for the paradoxes of life, those things that are magical, luminous, tender, and tumultuous. Life becomes an adventure.

Remember, with mindfulness we can stop being drawn into being sorry for ourselves and playing the victim. When we think of our self as a victim, we feel a lack of control in our life. It allows us to act in ways we may regret. We speak in anger, lash out at others, or fall into despair that our situation will never end. The more we are present to the moment, the more doors open to us. Ultimately, all we have is the present moment anyway. The past is gone, and the future has not yet arrived.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/TheMagicTheater/ website and look at the March quotes and posts. Mindfulness was my theme for March, 2019

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