Several of you have asked, “Do the seven attitudes of mindfulness really make a difference in your life?” I continue to respond with an emphatic, “Yes!” Check out my real life story and how the power of the seven attitudes impacted my life.
The week Hurricane Florence slowly passed through NC dumping record amounts of rain was more than a bit crazy. Although the storm passed, rivers continued to rise. Many people lost so much and others were grateful to not receive the worst of the storm. I was one of the luckier North Carolinians.
One morning during the storm, as I unloaded the props from my car to teach a Yin Yoga class, I noticed dampness on the bottom of several bags.
Hmm … guess a little rain got into my trunk.
It was time to teach class, and I’d deal with the damp bag and blocks upon returning home. I got home, began unloading my trunk to find soaked papers, yoga bag, socks … UGH! I continued to unload my trunk, lifted out the floor of the trunk and removed the spare tire. There at the bottom of the trunk sat several inches of water. I unloaded everything into the driveway. My hands covered with black and yellow ick. I stomped into the house to wash my hands.
My day is ruined! How will I get anything done?
As I stormed around the house, with my potty-mouth-brain saying a variety of choice things, my inner mindfulness bull dog brought me to attention and I shifted into the 7 Essential Attitudes of Mindfulness.
The 7 Attitudes of Mindfulness
To clarify the exact order of events is challenging. I am certain all seven attitudes impacted my experience. They may have been more interwoven and flowed more smoothly.
Non-Judging & Acceptance
This is where it all began. When I notice judging, it is my alert for getting out of my head, shutting down my stories, and becoming more present. What was my judging?
This sucks! Why did I let this happen? Why hadn’t I noticed this sooner? My day is ruined. My car sucks! How could I be so stupid? I will probably have to get rid of my car. I can’t buy a new car right now! What am I gonna do? RRRROOOOOOAAAARRRRRRR!!!
Once I noticed my judging (and negativity), I self-talked my way into acceptance. Remember, acceptance does not mean I approve of or like the situation. To cultivate acceptance means to find the willingness to see things exactly as they are.
Okay, water got into the trunk of my car. It is not coming into my car right now. I simply need to manage what is and stop losing my mind.
Patience, Non-Striving & Trust
Ahhh … patience, non-striving and trust. I wanted everything to be fixed, immediately. Do you ever have those moments of wanting to close yours eyes and make it all go away?
If only there was a magic wand and the situation would disappear or someone else would just fix it. Patience and non-striving went together for me. I needed to find the patience (and acceptance) that this situation was not suddenly disappearing. I had to take the steps to make it better. I had to let go of striving to make it all perfect. It would not be fixed today or even tomorrow. Each step in the process would require time. I needed to be with what was, pay attention to the process and trust my ability to manage this situation.
Everything is out of the trunk. Water is out. It’s a sunny day. I am washing what needs to be washed. I called the dealership for an appointment. They will diagnose the problem. I have done what I can right now and taken steps for moving forward. I got this.
I consider myself very lucky. Beginner’s Mind is my strongest attitude of mindfulness. To me, beginner’s mind is curiosity. It is the starting point for learning and exploring. Problem solving and figuring things out is like a game for me. Once non-judging and acceptance kicked in, I got out of my story and frustrations about things not being the way they were “supposed to be”. When beginner’s mind appeared, curiosity took over and I saw things as they really were. I began resolving the situation.
What caused this? When did it happen? What do I need to clean? What do I get rid of? Oh wow! Look at that. I’ve never removed the floor of my trunk. This is kind of cool.
Letting Go/Letting Be
My immediate reaction to the situation was a tightening of my body. My shoulders were in my ears. I was clinging to all that was wrong and all that needed to be different for my day to be “okay”. I was holding on to the idea that my day was ruined as if it was a fact. Although it was the harsh judging of myself that alerted me to becoming more present, it was a full breath and pause that allowed me to begin letting go of my self-induced chaos and monkey mind.
<Big Inhale + Big Exhale>
Summing It Up
Are you interested in incorporating the seven attitudes of mindfulness in your life? Learn more here. As you become more familiar with each attitude notice how you incorporate even just one into any situation. Try it sometime! You can even reflect on a past event and explore filtering the situation through the attitudes of mindfulness.
Notice where you get stuck. How does each attitude assist you in finding your way out of a challenging moment and into the present? Although the 7 Essential Attitudes of Mindfulness are distinct in definition, in practice they naturally flow from one to another and may be experienced simultaneously.
As the attitudes become more prevalent in my life, I notice any one of them can act as a red flag to losing the present moment. Most often it is when I am harshly judging myself or a situation that I am alerted. I pause, step back and flow into the attitudes of mindfulness. It’s not always easy but I am working on it.
How has mindfulness impacted a tough situation in your life? Share a comment below or send us a note. It’s always great to hear from you.