It was a fantastic opportunity for a newbie like me to have daily access to so many experts in so many fields of mindfulness. The very last day, yesterday, Jon Kabat-Zinn hosted a 45min mindfulness meditation which was live streamed to over 250,000 people from all over the world.
So last night, with a fireworks display going on outside my window, I tuned into Jon’s voice and to my breath for 45 minutes. It was so amazing to think I was one of a quarter of a million people doing the exact same think at the same time.
In the short time I’ve been exploring this world of mindfulness I’ve found it more comfortable to concentrate on my breath rather than my body. I’ve done a few body scans and I find it very challenging to stay with my body. More about this later though.
In the middle of the meditation with Jon he invited the participants to go to our body, our whole body but to put out a welcome mat to welcome ourselves in. Something about Jon saying this about the welcome mat made the experience much more comfortable. I think it was that I was being gentle and kind with my approach and also not diving straight in – it was a slower process and I’m not sure I moved passed the mat…. but I will.
There were so many useful and helpful little tips I took away from the Mindfulness Summit. Here are just six of them that stick with me daily.
- Mindful Eating – Try to always eat mindfully and, this was a big one for me, always sit to eat. No more eating at the fridge or press! Since I’ve started trying out mindful eating I smell my food, I see my food and most importantly I taste my food. I feel the heat or cold of the fork I’m using and how the food feels in my mouth. It makes food so much more enjoyable and I’ve noticed when I am mindfully eating I eat a lot less and I don’t feel the need to finish my meals.
- Finger Mindfulness Exercise – An easy, quick, child friendly mindful meditation that can be done anywhere – close your eyes, hold one hand up, with your other index finger trace from the outside (side of your hand) of your baby finger up to the top whilst breathing in, then when tracing down the other side of the of the finger breathe out and do this, moving up and down the outside and inside of your fingers whilst breathing in for going up and out for going down each finger and do it for both hands. It takes a few minutes and can be done anywhere at any time.
- Move or don’t move – if and when you feel uncomfortable during a sitting do you move or do you explore the uncomfortableness? I’m still working through this one but I’m on the ‘move’ side at the moment. I’ll explore the ‘explore’ side too in time!
- Deep breathing – breathing right down into your pelvis. Most people breathe into their chest but if you open up your throat and breathe past your chest and on into your tummy it delivers a much deeper breath – now try to imagine a diamond shape between your hip bones, pubic bone and coccyx – once you can imagine this diamond try breathing down into this area. It’s amazing!! It is such a different way of breathing and fantastic for pain management.
- Thoughts will come – my expectation was that I had to chase away any and all thoughts that came to my mind whilst I was sitting. I was delighted to learn that I shouldn’t chase them away or give out to myself for not ‘doing it properly’. Everyone has thoughts. My interpretation was that I need to recognise my thoughts as either the past or the future and then chose to concentrate on the present… and it works!
- Mindfulness in the mundane – You don’t need to ‘sit’ to practice. There is also informal practice available to us all throughout the day. You can practice mindfulness whilst in the shower, folding clothes, washing dishes or whilst walking – “Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet” Thich Nhat Hanh. My current favourite is when brushing my teeth… I pay attention to each tooth when brushing on the top, back and front and it’s a lovely experience for me and my teeth!
The timing of The Mindfulness Summit couldn’t have been better. I love to research areas that interest me and I have been presented with over 31 experts in the field to explore and learn from. I am sure Melli O’Brien will host another summit in the future so if you have any interest in mindfulness then don’t miss out!
I consider myself to be a fairly mindful person in one way and not at all in another.
I tend to notice everything that’s going on around me. I take in the sights, the smells, the noises. I stop to smell the proverbial flowers, I smile at passers by and I help people cross the road.
All of this awareness of my surroundings is fantastic.What I want to explore over the coming months and years is if I can be mindful within.
I have decided to explore mindfulness in all it’s glorious forms and to dedicate time and energy to the practice and learning. I want to explore this mystical world of within because I think it holds many keys to unlock many doors.
I like this explanation of mindfulness…
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, giving your full awareness to your surroundings and accepting it without judgment.
I want to learn to be compassionate towards myself, to rid myself of being so judgmental and to learn to be kinder to myself and in turn to others.
Mindfulness is the way the world is going and whilst I know I am centuries, decades and years behind many others now is MY time of exploration … and I just can’t wait!
We all know the saying…
It’s a great way to live your life; not worrying about what others think and simply putting your happiness first. What if we applied this to eating…
Yes, we may feel great, temporarily, but there’s always that low after eating too much of the bad stuff, And that void you were trying to fill with the food… it didn’t work, did it?
So why not change one word out of the above and try this instead…
…and funnily enough after a search on the web there isn’t a matching image for my new slogan… so I made my own…
Granted.. it’s not the best made badge in the world but the message is more important than my lack of design prowess!
If I knew I was being watched would I eat what I eat? I was at a meeting yesterday and there was a plate of chocolate chip cookies on the table. I’m in good-girl mode at the moment but let’s pretend I was not. I wanted to eat a biscuit and would have happily eaten five of them, but would I have eaten them in the meeting or waited for the meeting to end, for the people to leave and then, when no one can see, eat them all up?
There is no way I’d eat five biscuits at a meeting, but I am totally guilty of eating them once they leave and I’m sure I’m not alone. I have always said if I had to tweet what I eat I’d be at my goal weight in no time… that and lose 90% of my followers!
I’m going to try to have this thought in my mind when I go for the fridge or press at home, when nobody’s looking.
It’s the times when nobody’s watching that you should be proud of your staying power, not when they are all watching…
I love Chilli con Carne… my family not so much but seeing as I am the cook in the house it’s Chilli for dinner tonight!
This is simple and very tasty. In the kitchen you will need:
- Frying pan
- Sauce pan
- 1.5lbs of 5% fat minced beef
- 1 x red pepper
- 1 x onion
- 2 x cloves of garlic
- 2 x tsp of cumin powder (I add more but adjust to your taste)
- 1 x beef stock cube
- 1 x tsp of chilli flakes – add more or chop up real chilli peppers if you like it spicy
- 1 x tin of kidney beans
- 2 x tins of chopped tomatoes
- 1 x tblsp of tomato puree
- 2 x tblsp of Worchester Sauce (I didn’t have any so used Balsamic)
Let’s get cooking…
- Spray your frying pan with a good bit of Fry Light.
- Add your chopped onion and garlic.
- Once onion is softened then add your mince and cook till it’s brown.
- Then add two tins of tomatoes, tomato puree, cumin, chilli flakes, crumble your beef stock into it and add your worchester – or balsamic in my case!
- Cook for 25 mins on a low heat.
- Add the chopped peppers, kidney beans (drain the water they come in first) and cook for a remaining 10 mins.
Serve with rice or a baked potato and a blob of natural yogurt with a sprinkle of paprika on top. And it wouldn’t be chilli without a sprinkling of cheddar cheese (30g is your healthy extra A for the day)
This freezes really well and also tastes great heated up the next day for lunch.