Is your mind more like an overstuffed junk closet or a Zen monastery?
Is your mental state closer to a crowded freeway than a sweet country road?
Do your thoughts bring you panic or bring you peace?
If you are like most humans, your mind is more mess than mindful, more chaos than calm.
So for this full moon, when our minds can sometimes be at their worst, here are some tips for happy mind maintenance.
First, be aware that the moon DOES affect the state of your mind and your body. Look to the ocean tides for evidence of the moon’s power. During full moons, the tides are at their peak, with the highest high tide and the lowest low tide of the month. All activity during the full moon is increased and magnified, including your thoughts. So it is extra important to be mindful rather than messy over the next few days.
Each full moon we work with a specific theme for the 28 1/2 day moon cycle (from full to new to full again), and this full moon our word is love. (Join Daily Sparks for a little but powerful email each weekday morning, and receive teachings on how to integrate each full moon theme into your day.) Just in time, because love is the pathway from mind-full to mindful.
First, what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is our ability to use the power of our entire mind to be present and aware in each moment.
We often use a small percentage of our mind’s capacity because we get fixated on certain thoughts or stories. And who is getting fixated is one small part of our mind that has a very loud mouth: our critical judge.
When your judge constantly criticizes you, berates you for not being “perfect,” or endlessly compares you to others, your mind gets messier and messier. You will find yourself making up all sorts of stories about who you should be or what you should do or where you should be. Which means you are everywhere else except the present moment.
And when your judge is active your victim-self shows up, feeling more and more worthless, hopeless, and powerless against the onslaught of your negative thinking.
And that is just the beginning. Throw in worst-case-scenario media and you-should-be-different advertising, mix with other people’s opinions and reactions (both past and present, real or imagined) and you have a serious brew of mess.
Happily, you have a sharp sword of clarity that is always ready, available, and at your service: your awareness, or mindfulness.
Mindfulness is mind-love-ness. Instead of letting your judge narrow you down into fear and worry, take a step back and invite your whole mind to come online.
Here are five steps to move from mind-full-mess to mindfulness:
1. Start by becoming mindful of your breath. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Mindfully connect to your breathing. All you need are three deep, mindful breaths to start slowing your mind down.
2. Bring your attention to all of your senses. Use your mind to scan your physical body and check in on physical sensations, sounds, tastes, sights, and smells. Take one sense at a time and increase your perception of each.
3. Activate your superpowers: love, compassion, and patience. Treat your mind as a friend rather than a foe, but a friend that you need to make strong, clear boundaries with.
4. Talk to your mind: Hey, sweetheart, what’s going on with you today? What can I do to help you feel safe?
5. Shake your body. It is amazing how much we can get into the present by taking a few moments to move to music, do some jumping jacks, or stretch.
For the next two weeks, practice your mindfulness. Don’t try and fix or change yourself (and especially refrain from trying to fix or change anyone else)! Simply observe. Be curious. Witness. Explore. In about two weeks, on the New Moon in August, I’ll write more about how to clear and organize your mind. The more information you have the easier this will be.
And here is a quick Pixie update (Pixie is my nickname!) I’ve been camping in the woods of upstate New York for the past two weeks, living in my trailer with no electricity or running water. So good!!!! And in the stillness and simplicity of this place I’ve been working on a book and dreaming up some yummy programs and ideas. More to come in the Fall; I’m still percolating!