Mindfulness, slow living and simplicity as a way of life….
I was first drawn to mindfulness a few years ago.
Being faced with many challenges to try to help my disabled daughter be included, I started to notice how fast the world moves. My daughter is non-verbal, so we are all learning to be an Alternative Augmentative Communicating family. This is what really pushed me into realising that if we are going to give my daughter a fighting chance of having a voice we all have to slow down. However, what I didn’t really know, was that this would have a positive impact on the whole of our family life.
I started to see that people around me were so very busy. I also felt very busy. In fact, when people politely asked me how I was, I realised my go-to response was, ‘Yes, good, thank you, busy.’ I now try to never use that response.
I started to feel overwhelmed with the amount of therapies I could do to support my daughter if only I had the time. I wanted to be better at having the time to truly align our life with my family values.
I knew we needed to start to live slower. Mindfulness is a part of that process. It also involves time for reflection, learning to commit to less and decluttering in every space of the house and every part of our life.
What is mindfulness?
Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says that mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.
“It’s easy to stop noticing the world around us. It’s also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living ‘in our heads’ – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behavior,” he says.
“An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs.
“Another important part of mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen moment to moment.
“It’s about allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly. When we do that, it can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives.”
By understanding the benefits of mindfulness, its easy to use it as a basic metaphor for every part of our lives. By taking the time to see ourselves fully – how we behave, how we connect with others, how we prioritise what’s important to us, what sacrifices we make to be present with our nearest and dearest – we can start to see what’s getting in the way of us living our life in a way that helps us live the happiest life that we desire.
I believe many of us are yearning to feel more free, more connected and more present. So, what would help us to live in a way that we can foster what we truly value?
- Take the time to reflect what you value.
- Look at what you are doing that takes your time and attention away from being able to do that.
- Weigh what is really important and stop making commitments that are not important.
- Make time for what truly makes you happy.
- Declutter your home and your life.
Likely, when you have done all of this, you will start to feel lighter, and will begin to find the clarity you need to live slower.
There are so many ways we can practice slow living to live happier and healthier lives.
- Food: Consider how we shop, what we eat and why? Less flavour enhancers will lead to truly tasting the lovely natural flavours of a variety of foods. Less consuming in mass and more eating for optimum nutrition and health results in slower eating. Look for what you can find locally, apples from the trees, herbs from the garden, making soups from what you have in the fridge.
- Clothes: Put more thought into our shopping habits- less buying in general. Create a capsule wardrobe that allows you to see what you have and mix and match your clothing, so you can feel great in every situation and have something for every occasion.
- Conversation: Less polite talk and more thoughtful conversations. More genuine connection to truly develop meaningful relationships.
- House decluttering: The less we have, the less we need to look after. So, if you are not using it, then its likely you don’t need it.
- Free up some time to do nothing: This is truly my favourite, yet the most challenging for us. It sounds really easy, yet it is so hard in a world where it is very tempting to fill every day with something super exciting or something you feel you should be doing. However, I believe this is the key to truly being present. It allows time for freedom – to see where the day flows, to be curious about what’s happening with nature and ourselves. This is where the true beauty of slow living evolves.
Generally, more living in the moment, and definitely, less striving for perfection, is a pathway for an easier way of life.
There is no right or wrong way to live. Why not choose to live in a way that helps you to find your own balance in life?
To have time for those nearest to you?
To have time for those you love who are most vulnerable?
Join me on this journey toward mindfulness and living slowly – living for more connection, gratitude, love and kindness for ourselves and others.
I would love to know what you think about living slowly? What are some things you do to be more mindful?