“My mind races with ideas and things I should do, have to do, should’ve done!  It’s like I can’t shut it off.”

I can relate to that.  Can you? That racing mind (monkey mind!) can be exhausting.  The worst part is waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep.  Thoughts are scarier in the dark.

I used to struggle with this and then I learned some meditation techniques.  At first, the idea of not thinking, well, it seemed impossible.  It takes time, for some a lifetime, to silence thoughts and internal voices.  With disciplined practice, I have gotten pretty good at a few techniques that help me “dial down” and find peace, and – in the middle of the night – sleep.

Lately, I am learning about Mindfulness.

Being Mindful is being present. When we are willing to let go of thoughts of the past and the future, we are left with now.  Notice that the running-amok-monkeys live in the past or the future.  In the right now, we don’t have to deal with EVERYTHING.  We can just deal with what is happening.  Right now, there is room for a pause, and a chance to consider, what is going on in this moment.  We can chose the thought, the choice, the action that feels better.  The ones aligned with who we really want to be.  Allow that the past is over, and the future is only available in our imagination.  We can let go of the scary thoughts.  Yep, it takes some practice.  Then, in the now, we can make choices that could move us in the direction of our best selves. Delicious! And stress-less.

I’m just getting a feel for Mindfulness. When I start to “wind up” I often – not always! – pause to take a breath and make a choice.  Will popping this person in the nose make me feel better?  Maybe I could offer a smile instead.  Or make a polite escape.  Maybe I could use this moment to notice those around me.  To engage.  Instead of panicking over my calendar line up for tomorrow.

There are some really smart people talking about Mindfulness these days!  Let me turn you on to a few of my latest favorite books…

A Mindful Nation
Power of Community
Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics

Tim, a Congressman from Ohio, discovered Mindfulness has benefited his mental, spiritual and physical health…and helped him a better representative.  He is an unlikely choice to write a book on meditaion and I love him for it!

Howard, a successful entrepreneur and coach, has spot on techniques for being present and creating a sense of true community.  His proactive approach may also help you and your tribe put the phones away…and be present for each other!

Dan, an ABC News Anchor, had a panic attack on air.  His stressful life was taking a toll.  He decided that if meditating could make him just 10% happier, it was worth a try.  His story and techniques are approachable for even the most skeptical.

Are these books worth a look?  Oh, yes.  Enjoy!  I’d love to hear about your thoughts and practices!

Love love love,

Ellen xo

“Mindfulness helps you to be where you are when you’re there. When I’m interacting with constituents who are suffering, that matters.”  ~ Tim Ryan