Mindfulness or Mindlessness?
Updated: Jun 12, 2019
“Mindfulness is a way of being present: paying attention to and accepting what is happening in our lives. It helps us to be aware of and step away from our automatic and habitual reactions to our everyday experiences.“ ~Elizabeth Thornton
Mind full ness.
What a term!
Isn’t the goal of mindfulness to be aware, present, in the here and now?
Well, I am not a native speaker but nevertheless, if you are firm with the concept of this – that your mind does what you give it – your brain follows the route you think about.
Does the term mindfulness bring you to the road of less, of relaxation?
For me, it sounds like occupied – busy – full - exactly the opposite of what I want to achieve!
Here is the dictionary’s definition of mindfulness:
1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
2. a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
And, to compare, here is what the dictionary defines “mindlessness” as:
Mind·less or Mindlessness
ADJECTIVE or NOUN
1. acting or done without justification or concern for the consequences.
not thinking of or concerned about.
2. (of an activity) so simple or repetitive as to be performed automatically without thought or skill.
To be honest, I wish these were reversed in definition because I love the term mindlessness! I connect with something like “less”- slowing down, relaxing, reloading.
Maybe I should invent a new term . . . Maybe mindful-less!
I don't know about you, but I miss things when I move too fast.
Is it mindfulness or mindlessness?
When I don’t make time for margins, and try to jam pack every 15 minute block of the calendar with something to give me productivity credits, I forget things like packing workout clothes into my old paper bag.
When we find ourselves living with a constant sense of urgency, we get stuck there.
And running shoes get lost in places we'd never think to look for them.
I started to check my calendar for buffers - for blocks to rest and relax and get focused and
prepared for the next session, appointment, topic.
“You grow into your own advice,” so stay curious about the tension between rest and
work, the "on" hours and the "off hours."
There’s Less Stress in Mindlessness
Okay, the mindlessness . . . what is it about?
Of course, it is about being in the here and now. To care about yourself first and to be there for yourself and for others.
Does this sequence sound selfish? Are we so used to being there for others? This is especially a topic my female clients talk about.
I remember my mom - who was a straight and powerful person, who was a single mom at a stage where you got a lot of trouble and tradition hit you quite hard when you weren’t a normal family. She was a brave woman who really managed her life and mine in an awesome way. And even she asked that question at the dinner table, “What does your husband want?”
Him first, because he was the guest? Yes and no -because it was accepted in a former time to serve men first – in this case, it is not about men and women. It is about caring for yourself first and this is a topic for men and women.
And it starts with mind-less-ness, maybe even in this sense the better term! Because it could also delete the old stereotypes even in a better way. Not full of the old – no – less of the old, and more of the new!
Maybe this contradiction leads to a new way of thinking? A way of asking yourself first: does what you do serve you and your family?
We don’t question things as often as we should. We just “do” or - even worse - we are so used to doing things that way or just being busy that we accept business as busyness.
So -slow down – get out in nature and stare at a tree or something that is cooling you down.
Sit by water or the sea.
Whatever it is that brings you into a relaxed mode is good.
If you travel a lot, like I do: check in with yourself and fill your personal tank with happiness, quietness, and beauty. Because YOU matter and you deserve it.
Honor and support yourself first and concentrate on the beauty in you and around you. Concentrate on the good, on the results you earned, on the steps you took - and be grateful.
Grateful for whatever happens in life – because it is either good and enjoyable, or “bad” but a great chance to learn!
Let’s take it like it is and change whatever needs to be changed or stop whatever does not suit us anymore.
It is my responsibility, and therefore I check- in quite often. I check where I am and whether my “soul goals” are fulfilled.
Each step we do to focus on ourselves and advocate or vote for ourselves is a good step away from self-neglect and toward self-nourishment.
Before serving others, fill your own cup! Just like the airplane attendant says, before giving children the life mask, put it on your nose first.
Isn’t it interesting that putting yourself first can actually make you more available for others?
Holding space for yourself can create space for others . . . feeding your soul can feed others as well!
There is no contradiction in it. It is about the start and the sequence and the decision.
It starts with recognizing what is going on and it needs a decision to take – what do you want in life - goals and a soul goal!!!
A Healthy Approach to Being “Mindless”
So how are you feeding your soul?
Just sit still with this question. Contemplate. Embody mindlessness! Go to the space of nothing and just be.
Later, think about how it feels.
Ask yourself: In practicing self nourishment I notice a change in . . .?
“The problem is not entirely in finding a room of one’s own, the time alone, difficult and necessary as this is. The problem is more how to still the soul in the midst of its activities. In fact, the problem is how to feed the soul.”
Consider the following, either in deep thinking or journaling:
My Soul needs……….
Ways I do feed my soul……
One thing I can do today to feed my soul is……..
My soul goal……..
To realize your deepest yearnings is the first step to uncover and nourish those yournings.
Stillness is a way to do it.
Stop saying you are fine, especially when you are uncertain of how you are or how you feel. Realize it, name it, let it be the way you want to.
If this is not what other people expect you to do and they can’t cope with it, this is really fine! They may even avoid you because this would mean involvement - real involvement and a real talk – this is also fine. Because there is more time for yourself.
Breathe – sit down – check in with yourself and enjoy.
I love myself and others.
I take my time - me time - and this is my concept for a fulfilled life for me and the people I am close to.
This means I check in with “myself-ness” in quietness and peace. No distraction or noise around! It’s just me in the flow with an open mind-less mind. Just doing it and enjoying it, being a person with a heart and a soul.
You can do this, too. Start to enjoy moments of “mindlessness” because I feel this is more important and healthier than all that busy “mind-full” stuff, because YOU matter and YOU deserve it!