denial) often results in pain and suffering that could have been avoided if we had only paid attention and acknowledged, at least to ourselves, what we were experiencing. Truth be told, denial is more than a river in Egypt.

Thoughts create stress more than situations do We lose precious moments of our lives to ruminating about the past or rehearsing the future. When we are mindful; when we are present to the moment, we can notice our physical sensa- tions, our feelings and our thoughts. One of the most valuable things we discover is that the stress we’re experiencing is based more on our thoughts about the people, situations or experi- ences than the person, experience or situation warrants. You may have heard the story (which may or may not be

true) about a Cherokee grandfather teaching his grandson about the mind. He tells him: “There’s a fight going on inside me. It’s a terrible fight between two wolves. One is bad—filled with anger, pride, sorrow, regret, envy, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, false pride, superiority and greed. He continued, “The other is good—filled with joy, peace,

love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every

other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

[While this story sends a clear message about our minds, if I were writing it, I would use words like ignorant or aware instead

of bad or good.] The point is that when we are mindful we can notice that we have gotten lost in thought—whether of the igno- rant or aware variety—and choose to be present to what is hap- pening in the moment. When we choose to be here for this moment, stress and anxiety fall away and we enjoy a greater sense of peace. Try it now. Shift your attention from reading and notice your breathing for just a few seconds. Notice what happens. What did you experience? This is the foundation of mindfulness practice, but there’s more. So. Much. More. As with all activities that we undertake to enhance or enrich

our lives, mindfulness requires practice. Even if we begin with just 5-10 minutes a day, slowly, over time we will begin to notice that we have greater control over our attention; that we are less distracted and stressed, and more present to the little joys in our lives. Joys like the sound of birdsong, the buzzing of bees, the fragrant scent of blossoming trees and flowers, the taste of berries fresh from the vine.

When we begin to notice both our inner and outer worlds, our senses—like the earth in Springtime—awaken and elicit in us a sense of delight and wonder. If living more mindfully sounds like something that might

help you step into a life of greater delight and wonder, to no longer be consumed by stress, anxiety or worry—I hope you’ll consider joining a Mindfulness Series in your area.

Lina Landess is a Certified Mindfulness Meditation Facilitator, Trauma Release Practitioner, Holistic Health & Wellness Coach, Reiki Master and Author.


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