The moon is shining beautifully in its full phase lighting up the night sky, and a steady warm breeze blows as I walk across white, shifting sand to the gentle crashing of waves. Before me is the vast expanse of rippling sea with sparkling crests dancing on the water like diamonds and stars, making it difficult to tell the difference between earth and sky in a seemingly endless distance. The air is salty and humid but smells delightful, its hint of saline mist fills my airways as I take a deep breath and smile. I fall to my knees, feet from the washing waves reaching up the shore near where I plant myself on warm, dry sand. I listen intently to the breeze, the crashing waves, the song of birds, the music of nature's masterpiece. I close my eyes and whisper to myself, "Take this in. Take it all in."
I needed that moment in time meaningfully recorded into my consciousness. That delightful scene was beautiful, soothing, and even healing; that is self-care, and we all need self-care from time to time. I'll admit, I'm completely new to mindfulness (being deliberately present and conscious of the time and space that you are in), but this particular night, I discovered the value it can have. I live with depression and anxiety that can be crippling at times, and I struggle with stress daily. I know we all do, and it's vital that we find or develop methods and tools to help us.
I learned something from my dabble with mindfulness. Not only is the meditation calming and healing but the deliberate imprint of the experience can be redrawn later like a photo in a file. And each day is an opportunity to make a new file. Every moment is an opportunity to be fully present in that moment. I know, it's common sense so simple it's almost stupid, but the idea of it has been totally foreign to me.
There are almost as many ways to deal with stress and anxiety as there are people who live with it. My preferred method was marijuana, and it's nothing that I feel the need to be ashamed of, not anything else, just marijuana… and sleep. Those were my coping mechanisms. I've never been one to take the time to "smell the roses along the way." I just numb the thorns. But as I enjoyed every minute of the moment, I wanted nothing else but the moment itself. Is this mindfulness?
Oh, make no mistake, I'll still smoke my weed, cause why fire a good worker, lol, but now I've learned to intentionally enjoy a moment, and this is a new tool for me. And it doesn't even have to be a day at the beach; life rarely is.
There's a cool summer breeze blowing ruffling the leaves of the trees. It's warm but it feels a little cool. It's been getting cooler in the evenings lately, which puts me in mind that fall isn't far behind. The woods around my house are a variety of hardwoods hosting squirrels and birds. Two cardinals have been visiting lately and right now the female is perched on a branch in front of the porch. The waning sun glows red casting a golden glow across the trees with a beautiful palette of pink, orange, blue and cobalt painting the sky. I gently rock in my chair with one of my puppies in my lap. Her fur is soft and white and I love to stroke her hair as she rests peacefully soaking it all in.
Another moment I find myself present in, and now I'm being deliberate about recognizing it, enjoying it, and soaking it up like my baby getting her belly rubbed, lol. Any moment can be a beautiful moment if you stop to look. I'm just learning this, but I'm experiencing that there's indeed great value to being mindful, to be deliberately present in the moment, intentionally putting down what stresses you to recognize all that's good around you. Learning this skill can be extremely beneficial to your well-being. This is self-care.
The next time you feel stressed, try walking outside and be intentionally and fully present. It's amazing how much you miss most of the time. Recognize the smells, the sounds, and the feeling of the moment all around you, close your eyes and take it in, take it all in.