AS WE APPROACH the end of one Gregorian calendar year and the beginning of another, I offer a guided mindfulness exercise to you and our community. For most of my life, I have been a highly sensitive empath, driven by my emotions. I often felt pulled and pushed all over the place, depending on what life threw at me. A Weeble that wobbled and often fell down, too. As I have explored mindfulness and continued to practice it in my life, I still wobble, but with more resilience. It seems to take more effort to knock me off center and less time and energy to regain my center. I share this ofrenda with the hope that it provides each of you a few moments of stillness and reflection as you look toward another year.
Note: I recommend that you create a recording of yourself reading the following script and listen to guide yourself through the exercise.
To begin, I invite you to find a comfortable position. And to see if you can transition to it with intention and curiosity. Maybe you approach the position as if you’re making this movement for the first time, noticing how your body feels as you transition.
As you find your position, you might direct your attention to your breath. Or your seat. Or your hands. This will be our anchor point for our time together.
Like an anchor on a boat, it will keep us rooted to the present moment as the tide of our thoughts ebbs and flows.
There’s no need to alter or force your anchor.
I invite you to get curious about it: Where is my breath right now? Can I locate it in my body? Is there a rhythm or cadence to it? Is it shallow or deep?
If your anchor is the seat beneath you or the sensation of touch, is there a certain pressure or texture? Temperature?
There’s no need to judge or alter here. What’s happening right now?
You may choose to close your eyes or soften your gaze or even leave your eyes open.
If your mind has wandered, you might offer gratitude to your mind for doing its very natural, normal job of thinking. And then you might gently redirect it back to your anchor with kindness and compassion.
Maybe you begin to notice your connection to the Earth beneath you. The physical connection of your body to the rest of the world around you.
Maybe your anchor is also a long tap root, digging deep into the soil, connecting you to the rest of the world. All of the other life, the joy, the sadness, the kindness, and the compassion that ebbs and flows.
And maybe your mind has wandered. If so, with kindness and care, we return to the present moment.
If you’re ready, we might shift our attention to our ears, noticing any sounds around us. Not reaching or straining. Only inviting what is here. The vibration of this recording, the sound of the heater or fire. Whatever brings itself to your ears: Is there a certain texture? What does it feel like to hear this sound?
And now we might direct our attention to our hands and the sensation of touch. What do you feel right now? Your lap? Your other hand? The air around you? Getting curious about your experience right this moment.
And a gentle reminder to our minds to return to now. Each moment an opportunity to return and begin anew.
I invite you to return to your anchor point. How does it feel right now? What is present for you in this moment?