Now this is my kind of topic! Day 8 of the Mindfulness Summit and Elisha Goldstein talked about the power of the 'informal practice' i.e. mindfullness time 'off the cushion' so not sitting doing a formal meditation.
He said mini moments of conscious awareness can have a real impact on our lives and that short semi-formal practices on a daily basis are better than one formal practice once a week. He said it's like yoga.. if you do one yoga class a week it's good but if you do a tiny bit of yoga every day it's better because you are having more little reminders for your muscles/body/brain.. and it's the same with mindfulness.
So if nothing else try to do a short semi-formal practice to start and finish your day - a mindful shower in the morning and some conscious awareness of your breath and body when you are lying in bed going to sleep at night.
Elisha Goldstein was a crazy character - boy did he chatter away! Even said at one point that he thinks he might be undiagnosed ADHD.. he did talk a LOT and very fast! But I could follow him ok and enjoyed his enthusiasm.
He said sometimes regular informal practice can sometimes lead to a regular formal practice, sometimes it's all you ever do and that's ok too.
And then he had some great acronyms which I wrote down. Pathways for mindful moments.
S = Stop
T = Take a few breaths
O = Observe. Body, emotion, thoughts. What is my body doing? How am I feeling emotionally? What's on my mind?
P = Proceed. What's most important to pay attention to as I go on? What am I needing?
R = Recognise what's here (anxiety, shame, sadness)
A = Allow what's here to be here
I = Investigate/Inquire. Get intimate with what is happening for you internally. Move towards it, approach it rather than avoid it Ask: what is this feeling believing? What are my thoughts/messages to myself. Notice the deeper message. What do I need? Calm? Safety? Freedom? Connection?
N = Non-identification/Natural Awareness. I am not these thoughts and emotions. Get some perspective and distance.
S = Soften
A = Allow
F = Feeling
E = Expanding. Expand the sense of compassion you have to your current state to other humans feeling the same way right now. Feel some safety and security knowing that there are many others who are feeling and have felt the exact same way.
I love that last one. I often do that when I'm in a funk.. I make myself look at other people on the sidewalk/in their cars etc and imagine what is going on for them. Because we all deal with the same shit constantly, we all feel the same way at certain times. We are all connected and dealing with tough stuff constantly. It takes me out of myself. It's empathetic and calming.
Love, Mrs D xxx