Do you remember the book titled “The Power Of Now” by Eckhart Tolle? This book became my “mindful” bible. No, it is not a religious book. It is more about spiritual awakening, and the power of living in the present moment.
When I grabbed this book at the good ol book store, I was at the worst point in my life. I was barely surviving my second mental “break”, and nothing I did was lifting me from that dark pit… but this book, The Power of Now filled me with something I had not felt in a very long time… it filled me with HOPE.
I kid you not, each word was like Manna from Heaven, and I felt that if I could just apply these simple mindful & present techniques to my life, perhaps I could recover from this mental setback, and not only recover, but prevent future mental breaks from happening. Those of you who are familiar with mental health disorders, I am constantly trying to prevent any “triggers” that could throw me into a tailspin leading to another setback in my life. I am much too old to start over again… and so I do everything I can to maintain my sanity, learning new techniques to stay ahead of an always-ill brain.
The Power Of Now was able to give me a foundation to build upon, and from there I read “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabbit Zin, and then on to any other book I could get my hands on by both aforementioned Authors. Learning to live in the present moment didn’t come easy, and I can honestly say I have been practicing mindfulness since before it was cool… a hot minute now… and though I have been learning, practicing, and sharing mindfulnes and it’s benefits for years now, it wasn’t something that I mastered overnight. It took time. Being present takes practice, but I promise it is worth the work.
Being mindful costs absolutely nothing… and if you don’t have the money to spend, there are tons of free mindfulness information online, and guided meditation videos on YouTube. Just start somewhere! If that type of meditation isn’t your thing, just focus on your breathing. When you focus on breathing in and out, counting to ten as you inhale, and ten as you exhale, this is the best and most simple way to instantly bring you into the present moment. As you breathe in and out, try to keep your mind clear of any obsessive thoughts. This may be very hard to do at first! Don’t be discouraged by this and just remind yourself that it is hard for everyone in the beginning… it actually takes work to slow your thoughts down and stay focused on your breathing, but with practice it does get easier, and your able to reign your thoughts in a bit faster every time you practice. Don’t give up!
If paying attention to your breathing doesn’t seem to entice you to meditate, try speaking to your Creator. I am not claiming a religion or saying you should speak to a specific deity, but talking to the “Universe”, or talking to “Mother Nature”, what ever it is you want to call it, is a form of meditation… just like prayer. No, you don’t need to pick up the phone, or talk out loud as you walk in circles in your front yard, though if that is what you want to do, by all means, please do it, but do it in the backyard so nobody thinks you lost your mind.-smile- It has been proven that those who pray actually live longer. We don’t know if it is because of their beliefs, or prayer itself, but praying is an act of meditating, and meditating has also been proven to extend our lifespan. So whether you call it a prayer to your God, or connecting with the Universe, start talking to your Creator. When I started doing this, I was able to combat regular anxiety, and full on panic attacks. For those of you who suffer with these, you know exactly how life altering it is when you can learn to shorten their duration & intensity, and even prevent them altogether.
If you have not read the Power Of Now, I highly recommend it. It is an easy read, and if you are struggling, you may find it to be a life saver just as I did, and the perfect mental food. Don’t give up on Becoming the Very Best You (BVBY), you are worth the work for a happier life!