Spirituality and Mindfulness: Living in the Here and Now
Do you spend your days going from one activity to the next, making lists and busily completing the "to-dos" of your day? Do you say things to yourself such as, "When everything is done, then I can rest" or "When I finish this project or that degree or finally get that promotion, then I will know I have made it?" Or perhaps it is something like, "Once the kids are grown or I retire, then I will have time to do the things I always wanted to do."
Perhaps in your case, you do not feel busy. Maybe you do not feel much of anything. Instead of running from activity to activity and from place to place, you sit around and feel stuck, trapped or hopeless. It may feel like you have no energy for your life. It may seem like life is meaningless.
When you lose connection to yourself in this moment, life can feel hard, stressful, confusing, scary or dull. It can feel as if your inner compass is broken or your life is out of balance in some way. You may remember a time when things did not feel this way and wonder how to get back there. You may have experienced a life event that has left you questioning who you are, what you want, or what comes next.
So many of us have experienced these kinds of feelings at some point in our lives. We may feel like we are the only ones, but it is a universal experience to question and wonder and also to disconnect and be caught in the daily grind without considering the bigger picture. We have all learned so many ways to distance ourselves from the here and now and from our own deepest, most vulnerable places.
For many of us, exploring meaning and purpose are key parts of being alive on this planet and, oftentimes, we turn to some form of spirituality. Each culture, tradition and person has their own experience of spirituality. It is part of our human nature to ask questions about why we are here, to wonder about the meaning of life and to seek connection to the world around us. We are deeply connected to each other and the wider world, even though we may not always be aware of or have a sense of this connection. When we feel disconnected from the people and world around us it is because we are disconnected from ourselves. Through the practice of mindfulness and becoming aware of our moment-to-moment experiences, we begin to reconnect, both with ourselves and the rest of the world.
What does it mean to explore meaning and spirituality? It can mean different things to different people. Some people think of it in terms of having a daily spiritual practice, such as yoga, prayer or meditation, or belonging to a religious community. Some define spirituality in terms of feeling connected to something greater than themselves. Others may think of spirituality simply in terms of wondering about the mystery of the universe.
What does spirituality mean to you? Do you have a spiritual practice? Do you feel connected to others and the world around you? Or does it feel like there is something in your way that prevents you from feeling more at peace and connected to the flow of life?
Yesterday's pains keep us from being present today
There is always more to see, be and do. We can get caught in that as if more, more, more and do, do, do are our reasons for being. In my experience, however, the opposite is true. There is more depth and richness in our lives when we slow down, reconnect and simply be. Life happens in the here and now. Connecting to loved ones. Enjoying a sunset. Reading a book. Listening to music. Planting a garden. Going for a walk. The things in our lives that nourish us happen moments at a time. When we get caught in the never-ending race to reach some future finish line, we miss what is happening in this moment. We miss the beauty, and the pain, that is the foundation of our life.
When we practice being with ourselves in each moment, we learn that our pain, as well as our joy, has meaning. Some of the busyness and stuckness in our lives are simply ways to distract ourselves from not feeling something, some current discomfort or past pain or trauma. With practice and support, we can live our experiences in a different way and come to a place of deeper satisfaction, meaning and freedom.
Mindfulness, body awareness and spirituality can help you reconnect with yourself in the here and now and re-experience the simple, child-like joy of being alive.
No matter what you are feeling, the first step toward wholeness is to acknowledge what you are feeling. This may feel impossible at times. We all have places within ourselves that seem like too much to feel on our own. So we reach for help. Having another person with you can be what allows you to explore and feel all the things that you have spent a lifetime trying not to feel.
All the hard feelings that you are avoiding, consciously or not, are what keep you out of the present moment. With support, patience and compassion, you can come home to the here and now.
Why would I want to open up and explore old wounds from my childhood or my past?
This is a great question. After all, you cannot change the past. Why go back and revisit all the things that you did not want to feel the first time around? All of our past experiences are still with us, held in our bodies and cells, whether we want to remember them or not. When we avoid looking at these old feelings, they can manifest as illness, tension patterns and pain. Furthermore, our avoidance of them keeps us from feeling free and fully alive. One way to think about it is that we are every age we have ever been. The younger versions of ourselves are inside of us and they are asking us to notice them and give them the care and attention they may not have gotten. As we do that, we feel more centered and grounded. We come home to ourselves.
How do you work with people of different faiths and traditions?
I welcome people of all faiths and no faith. I respect each individual's own beliefs and will truly honor where you are coming from. My style is to offer invitations to you and anything that does not fit with you, you are welcome to discard. I often invite clients to bring compassionate awareness to wherever they are in this moment and to feel what they are feeling in their body. This practice of mindfulness and body awareness can be done without having a set belief system. I also invite clients to connect to something greater than themselves, which can be religious or spiritual or some element of the natural world, such as the earth, a tree or a river.
Do you accept insurance?
Unfortunately, I am unable to accept insurance. I do offer a sliding scale for those who need it. Additionally, I have a few slots for clients at a reduced rate. I encourage you to contact me to discuss the details. I am happy to work with you to reach an agreeable arrangement for both of us. One way to think of this kind of deep inner work is as an investment in yourself. You may be surprised by the ripple effects as things shift and open in you. Your relationships and those around you may shift and change as well.
- Pause for a moment. Bring your attention to your breath. Where do you feel it in your body? Can you feel your feet? Notice where you are in this moment. Think back to what brought you to this page. Can you sense your reaction to reading what has been written here? Did you skip right to the end? Can you sense what you might want or need next? If so, see if you can let yourself have that.
- Are you curious and/or unsure if this is the right fit for you? Contact me for a free consultation at (860) 378 - 8016 or via my Contact page.
- Contact me to set up an appointment. I offer one-hour sessions in Lenox, MA or via Skype.