These days, the word 'mindfulness' comes up so much that it seems like more of a buzzword, a word that we should use to feel better somehow. I want to take this moment to share my perspective on what mindfulness means to me, and how I have integrated this concept into my life. Perhaps it will spark some thought about what mindfulness means for you.
There was a time in my life where I coasted through days not fully aware or grateful for all that I had. I never gave too much thought to getting out of bed on my own, or being able to walk down the stairs of my house to make a fresh cup of coffee. I guess I just took it for granted. But those simple things I took for granted are true miracles every day. Walking out of my house to feel the fresh air of a new day, or looking up at the sky to see big fluffy clouds were all things that I never paid attention to because I was too busy going to work or stressed out about life circumstances. My body was more reactive than proactive back then.
It took a major car accident to help me understand the concept of mindfulness. In 2013, my car hydroplaned on I-40 in North Carolina, and was hit by three cars and an 18-wheeler head on. I will never forget seeing the truck driving towards me at 50+ miles per hour while I was sitting in my car, virtually helpless. I scrolled through the rolodex of my life in my mind and thought, "If I have to go today, I'll be okay. I've done everything I could have possibly done for my life up to this moment." My car was an absolute accordion, but I walked out of my car that night in complete and utter shock that I didn't have a scratch on me.
How many moments do we go through life without awareness of our surroundings?
Everyday (since that day) I wake up with enthusiasm for all that I am lucky enough to have in this world. I have a food, clothing, shelter, family and friends. I have the ability to take walks, to look up at the sky with awe wonder like a little kid, and to taste food that I choose to eat (among many other things). My senses are alive, and I am happy without a doubt.
It's this level of awareness that has sparked passion for what I do. It's this type of mindfulness that has elevated my passion for life, and how I interact with people at home and abroad. I try my best to let go of petty misunderstandings as humanly possible, because it's just not worth it in the end.
Mindfulness has been the first step to making more thoughtful decisions in my life. For me, practicing mindfulness has translated into a healthier way to live, love, and forgive.
The art of mindfulness starts by asking yourself this one question: What is one thing you are grateful for each day? Don't wait for a big circumstance in your life to take place to shift priorities. Make time to appreciate all that you have right now, in this moment.