There’s that word again – mindful. You may be wondering what the big deal is about mindfulness and why so many people are talking and writing about it. My goal for the mindfulness series on the five senses was to suggest practical, natural ways to bring personal joy and relaxation into our lives. Now that the ways each of the senses can serve us in this journey through life have been presented, it’s appropriate to add more ways to seamlessly incorporate mindfulness in unexpected ways. For example, some friends and I attended the Frisco Arts 14th Annual Storytelling event this weekend. As we approached the lobby of the theater, the aroma of freshly-brewed coffee and accompanying treats greeted us. Wow! Hello sense of smell. We found our seats and caught up on each other’s news as we waited for the four storytellers - two pre-teens and two adults – to begin the show. It was a new experience for me, so I didn’t know what to expect. What a delight! The young storytellers regaled us with fascinating stories featuring animals as characters to paint their scenes and using their animated bodies and multiple voices to bring humor to the tales. I couldn’t help but wonder how the two adults – one a pudgy guy with a long grey pony tail and the other a slim wisp of a man - would be able to top those two adorable kids. Suffice it to say, neither had any problem transporting the audience to laughter. In fact, many of us laughed until we cried at their tales of the joys and frustrations of married life. At the end of the performance, we all jumped to our feet clapping. I noticed how relaxed I felt. I had just spent 90 minutes completely absorbed in a pleasant experience, and I felt peaceful, as did my friends. I’m going to add good, clean comedy to my list of ways to achieve mindfulness without even trying. An article in the November 2017 issue of Women’s’ Health, suggests readers follow the suggestions of Pedram Shojai, doctor of oriental medicine and author of Stopping Time: Practical Mindfulness for Busy People. Shojai’s book features 100 “microhabits” – small actions that can bring on relaxation and save time when used with intention. These “microhabits” don’t have to be done alone. They can include others, the way my evening of watching stellar storytellers did. A few of those methods include stretching as your morning coffee brews (I suggest being careful if you’re in the Starbucks line), doing good deeds without expectation of recognition or reward, and perhaps the most difficult for any of us to even imagine - resisting the mindless scroll of the phone, even leaving it home when running short errands. If the mere thought of that last one makes your chest feel tight, breathe with me, nice deep breaths into the belly. We’re going to be fine. Find another way – maybe reading 30 pages of a book you bought/downloaded who knows when.
Time is the currency of life, so any way that you can hack your day to become more aware of how you spend time can improve your relationship with it. ~ Pedram Shojai
Have you taken advantage of the many offerings of Frisco Arts? Here’s a link to their events calendar: www.friscoarts.org/events