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Why Does Mindfulness Matter?

Do you feel like mindfulness is the next “Big Thing”? You hear about it on TV, there are apps about it, and in tons of articles. But is this just a phase or it is something real?

Honestly, I can’t answer that question for you. I can only answer it for myself.

My mindfulness practice started almost 8 years ago. Well, I’m not sure I would even have called it a practice. It was just a little awareness around an idea that might be helpful to someone someday – but probably not me. Or at least that is what I thought of mindfulness at the time.

I was in kind of a desperate place, I needed something, but I really did not know what it was, and the idea of mindfulness had been in and out of my life several times – each time I thought it was a “great idea” for someone else.

I’d love to say it was a bolt of lightning moment and it all changed, but that is not my story. I started to read about mindfulness and meditation; these two concepts seemed to go hand in hand. I needed the data to tell me that X% of people who practice mindfulness each day are X% more likely to be happier. While that data exists, I still did not believe it – there was a ‘feeling or emotional’ aspect to this mindfulness stuff that I just could not wrap my head around. I was a facts and figures kind of person – but still doubted the facts and figures I found. But I thought what could it hurt to just sit and do nothing for a few minutes every day?

So, I tried it – in my master bedroom closet – so no one would know what I was doing. It was awkward and strange. I made the commitment to sit in the dark every morning before anyone else was awake and just focus on my breathing (that’s what the articles said). I set a timer for 10 minutes – I could do 10 minutes, right? WRONG!! I checked the timer with 9 minutes 30 seconds to go (that’s right I sat for 30 seconds!) and then again at 8 minutes 55 seconds to go. You get the idea. I could not make the whole 10 minutes.

I felt completely unsuccessful and thought I’m not trying that again – what a waste of time. Well, the next day I forgot to turn off the alarm I had set “to meditate”, so the next morning the alarm went off reminding me to do my 10 minutes of mindfulness in the closet. I decided to try again but this time only 5 minutes. I got a full 2 minutes in without having the check the timer! HUGH CELEBRATION. Yes, I’m celebrating that I was able to just focus on my breath for 2 minutes.

I’m not 100% sure if the 2 minutes of mindfulness or if it was my excitement for being able to do 2 minutes of mindfulness, but that day was one of the best days I had had in months. From that day on I have tried and failed to include mindfulness or meditation in my daily life.

Several times over these 6 years, I have redefined what mindfulness means to me. I know that my concept of mindfulness has worked its way into my cells and is now a practice long before it is even a thought.

To answer the question, does mindfulness matters – to me YES more than I could ever put words to it. However, each person’s mindfulness practice is different. Are you practicing mindfulness each day? Would you like to be? No time like the present to jump in!

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