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☑️ Notice the doing  

Mindful awareness practice can sound like one more thing to add to your to-do list. This shifts, however, when you realize it's actually a capacity-building habit that can change how you do what's already on your list.

You don't accomplish mindfulness. You practice applying it.

Mindfulness is the natural capacity you have for noticing what you're doing. It's a mode of attention that's in contrast to doing tasks on autopilot or adding internal friction to them. 

I can unconsciously bear down inside as I unload the dishwasher or I can feel the heat spill out as I open the door, hear the plates clink as I stack them, and observe the resentment I feel without trying to push it away. 

Mindfulness isn't better than autopilot, but it's liberating to exercise your options for how you relate to your life while you're living it.    

I value my body's ability to walk and breathe and swallow without needing to stay on top of every detail all the time. 

I run into problems, however, if I never suspend cruise-control mode and never practice easing up inside when I feel the pressure to barrel through my responsibilities. 

Some moments are physically uncomfortable. Some decisions don't have clear best options. Some feelings fuel thoughts that keep looping because I don't know how else to relate to what is beyond my control. 

Each time we switch from autopilot to direct awareness mode, we train the ability to inhabit our lives more fully, regardless of the circumstances—and it doesn't require allocating extra time to practice. 

  1. Pick a task from your existing to-do list. 
     
  2. Notice various sensory details while you're carrying it out. 
     
  3. Let thoughts and feelings play out in the background of your awareness. You don't need to try to get rid of them. If it's a task that involves thinking or talking, you can try to keep a small percentage of your attention grounded in physical sensations.  

It takes a while to remember to bring this kind of attention to a task or two each day, but if you're patient with yourself, you'll gradually begin to remember more often.

Of course, you can also add formal timed mindfulness to your to-do list if you want. A lot of people do this—including me—because it supports our efforts to bring more direct awareness into our lives. 

Whatever you decide to experiment with, give it a few weeks, months, or years to see if you begin to notice:

  • a little less internal friction
     
  • a little more richness lurking in ordinary moments
     
  • both
The time will pass whether or not you notice that you're alive.
JamesClear.com

Recent attention grabbers

Mental Errors That Sway You From Making Good Decisions by James Clear 

Five common mental errors that sway you from making good decisions.

Should I try...mindfulness?

British journalist Michael Mosley examines the evidence behind some of the most popular complementary and alternative medicines. He recently took on mindfulness and concluded:

"If you practice mindfulness you will most probably benefit from it, but it’s a bit like exercise–many people start enthusiastically, and then give up. You’re only really going to get the benefit if you do it regularly–it’s quite tough to start and the real challenge is to keep going.”

The Right Meditation Can Literally Reshape Your Brain by Ephrat Livni

"Think of meditation as an exercise for your brain. You wouldn’t go running to bulk up—you’d lift weights. And you wouldn’t lift weights if you wanted to be willowy. You’d run. Same goes for meditation."

The Point of Meditation is Not to Relax

From The Passion Paradox newsletter: "In the long-run, yes, a regular meditation practice is likely to yield relaxation. In the short-run, however, meditation is anything but relaxing."

The Only Metric of Success that Really Matters is the One we Ignore by Jenny Anderson 

Researchers have found that the things we assume will help address loneliness aren't very effective. Our brains default to self-preservation mode and can keep us on high alert for social threats, but learning to connect with others is a skill that can be developed. 

Productivity and the Joy of Doing Things the Hard Way by Rob Walker

"There’s value in not giving control over to ease sometimes. We can become disengaged, passing through moments instead of inhabiting them, losing the ability to relate our own footsteps through unfamiliar territory to a broader notion of spaces we inhabit. Sometimes it’s worth making the effort to get there the hard way."
This free video seminar series from Dr. Jud Brewer helps primary health care providers understand how our brains form unhealthy habits that lead to common yet difficult to treat conditions, what mindfulness is (and isn’t), and how mindfulness works in the brain to effect behavior change. 
The Art of Attention 

“For some, there may be a kind of engineer’s satisfaction in the streamlining and networking of our entire lived experience. And yet a certain nervous feeling, of being overstimulated and unable to sustain a train of thought, lingers.”

~ Jenny Odell, author of How to Do Nothingspeaking with Ezra Klein  

How the Brains of Master Meditators Change

“The national attentional deficit far exceeds our national fiscal deficit right now.”

~ Richard Davidson, author of Altered Traits, also from The Ezra Klein Show

Digital Minimalism

“We’re at a period now where we need to step back from all the exuberance surrounding this mobile Internet age and get our act together [and ask] What do we want to do? and What’s making us worse off than we were before?

~ Cal Newport, author of Digital Minimalism, from the 10 Percent Happier podcast 

Workshops and practice sessions

Mindfulness Practice Group
Thursdays, June 6, June 20, July 18, 2019
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Mount Carmel Healthy Living Center 

This free practice series sponsored by Mount Carmel Health is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness with others, compare notes, and ask questions. Call 614-234-4660 to register. 

Saturday Morning Retreat: Find Rest in the Unrest with Mindfulness
June 8, 2019, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, Amelita Mirolo Barn

Unplug. Recharge. Learn mindfulness exercises that help you discover the natural restful states available throughout every ordinary day. Register online or call (614) 583-5331.

Easing into Transformation
Sunday, June. 9, 2019, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM, phone 

Instead of trying to force yourself to relax, this Unified Mindfulness Home Practice Program session provides a rich opportunity to go deeper into your exploration of restful states and to address the obstacles that you might encounter along the way. 

I highly recommend following Melbourne Meditation Centre if you aren't already: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. Matt Young's humorous perspective, practical insights, and warm encouragement are contagious.

Ongoing Practice Sessions

If you live in the Columbus, Ohio area, I hope you'll check out the free practice sessions I host in my home. They're usually the first three Wednesdays of every month, but please check my website for exceptions.

Upcoming practice session dates: 

  • June 5, 12, 19
  • July 10, 17, 24 (skipping July 3)
  • August 14, 21, 28 (skipping August 7)

Sessions include guided exercises, practice in silence, and discussion. All experience levels and meditation strategies are welcome.

Email or call (614) 284-9618 for address and parking details. 

Save 50% on a subscription to Brightmind using the offer code: DARON 
This offer is available through the website only, not through the app store. 
If you enjoy this newsletter and think your friends might, too, share it here.

Keep in touch between newsletters:

Take care,

Daron

Copyright © 2019 Attentional Fitness Training, All rights reserved.


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