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Building the Mindfulness Muscle

When I think of being mindful usually what comes up is "I have to work on something else". Mostly the idea of being mindful isn't empowering to me, I already feel tired and exhausted most days chasing after 3 kids so the thought of having to focus more occurs offputting to me. Here's the thing, I also know that being mindful provides a huge sense of peace. When I do it, when I focus and am intentional I also feel peaceful. It's this weird double-edged sword.

I've been playing #thegracegame the last couple of weeks inside of focusing on my health. If you don't know what I'm talking about check out my post here. One thing that has come up is this struggle between being perfect and being graceful. Usually where I default to is being perfect. I said I would do XYZ so I have to do it, but there is absolutely no joy in it or grace. This, in part, is why I took on this game, to discover joy again and grace with myself. So far so good and it's a work in progress.

Yesterday I shared with my friend Nicole about this struggle between grace and perfection and she was dealing with some similar struggles inside of her finances. We had just walked to a coffee shop so we could socially distance visit outside. I went in first and ordered my Oat Milk Late, Nicole went in after and came out with her coffee, a sandwich, and a cookie. Nothing inherently wrong with that but what was so interesting when we chatted about it is how she didn't even want to buy the food, she had mindlessly made the decision to buy it. I realized this is exactly the same struggle I face with food. The late-night snacks where I've eaten a whole bowl of popcorn and not even tasted it or scarfing down a meal and not even thought about each bite, each of these are mindless in themselves and is exactly what I'm out to impact.

I realized that there are many places in my life where I am very mindful. For example, when I'm with my kids and we're doing art I'm completely there and present, or when we are at the park and playing. But in the area of health and wellness I struggle and I realized it is just about developing a new muscle. My muscle in other areas is developed, I don't even have to think about it, but when it comes to feeding myself or doing a workout it takes a lot more mental strength. When the morning comes I just want to roll back over and have 5 more uninterrupted minutes before I'm needed by another human.

Nicole and I got to creating and looking at how we could support each other in this mindfulness muscle mission and we have created a new partnership. At first, we considered a bet where we would take each other out for dinner or something, but I realized that the competition part would empower me for the length of our challenge but ultimately wouldn't teach me long-term muscle building. What we settled on is a collaborative game whereby we will text each other mindfulness wins as they come up. The goal is to get to 500 points by the end of Nicole's finance seminar on May 26. The thing is though, I don't win unless Nicole wins which actually really empowers me to go for it and be mindful in my actions. So this might be waking up early even when I don't want to and spend 20 minutes doing yoga, or it may be saying no to a particular food even when I want it. Today it was listening to my body and eating 2 pancakes instead of 3. Is there an area where you struggle with being mindful? Perhaps somewhere you find you automatically do things you later regret? For some it's food or alcohol, for others is finances. You are welcome to take on this mission alongside us and I'd love to hear from you about your own mindfulness wins.

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