Greetings fellow mindful travelers! Do you believe in magic?
I was recently thinking about the people I serve and the different practices I often guide people to cultivate in their life.
I wrote them down and realized that there was a sort of “magic” to the way these practices could transform people’s lives and heal anxiety.
While there is now lots of research explaining why these practices work, there is something magical about them that just shifts the energy within you.
These practices have been especially important on my own journey in healing anxiety and I strive to continue to practice them daily.
So without further do, here are the 5 practices to create a life of MAGIC
If you have been following my newsletter you know I love mindfulness practices.
Mindfulness is simply the practice of being in the present moment with openness and acceptance of your experience.
We come into the here and now and see things for what they really are.
You can cultivate mindfulness is a number of ways:
Formal meditation practices, movement practices, dance, yoga, breathing, going for a walk in nature, talking with a friend/therapist …
Anything that gets you into the present moment and in touch with your experience is a mindfulness practice.
Find what works for you, and intend for being present and open to your experience, whatever it may be.
Here’s a 1 minute mindfulness practice to try:
Sit in a meditative posture and just watch your breath for 1 minute. No need to control it, just be with it in the present moment.
2. Act on your Values
Once you come back to the present moment, you have more freedom to choose your actions.
Acting on your values means to do the things that are important to you.
What do you love to do? It could be a hobby, your work, a relationship, travel, hiking, art.
We only get so much time here on earth, how do you want to spend yours?
By taking action in the world, we learn more about ourselves in the process and how we can make a difference in people’s lives.
If fear is preventing you from taking action, notice it, breathe, and take it with you as you go toward what matters.
Here’s a 1 minute reflection exercise:
What is one thing you have been putting off doing that is in line with your values? Commit to doing it in the next week.
Traditional gratitude practice is to notice the things in your life that you are grateful for and happy that you have.
For example, any positive relationships, work you enjoy, good food, a place to live, running water…
There are probably many things you could be grateful for. Thinking of these things, writing them down every day, and sharing them with others is a great practice.
With time, we can even begin cultivating gratitude for difficult and painful things in our lives.
We can begin to see all the challenges we have faced as opportunities to learn and grow.
Perhaps we learned some important lessons about ourselves from a relationship that didn’t work out.
Or we learned what we really wanted to do with our lives when we got fired.
With gratitude practice, we can see all things that come our way as an opportunity to grow.
The people we found irritating, who triggered us intensely, were actually our teachers.
And we can say thank you for the lessons, as these difficult situations have made us a more mature, self-aware person today.
Here’s a 1 minute gratitude practice:
Close your eyes and think of all the people that have supported you in your life. Offer gratitude for their support.
Insight means to know ourselves well.
There are numerous ways to cultivate this including meditation, therapy, reflecting on past experiences, journaling, and so on.
The thing is, whether we like it or not, we are stuck with ourselves all day every day for the rest of our lives.
So why not take some time to get to know ourselves.
What was our childhood like and how has it influenced us today?
What emotions are we comfortable with? What emotions make us uncomfortable?
What do we Love to do? What are our values? What kind of person do we want to be in the world?
Getting to know ourselves is a life-long process.
It starts with the intention to look within and pay attention to what we see.
And as we shine the light within, we do so with care, love, and compassion.
Here’s a simple reflection exercise:
What things really trigger me or push my buttons?
What things light me up and get me excited about life?
Perhaps this is the most important of all the practices, as it is an energy we want to cultivate both toward ourselves and others.
Compassion is the what happens when Love meets suffering.
It means we see the suffering of ourselves and others and want to do something to help.
Start with yourself. With mindfulness and insight we can notice when we are hurting emotionally, physically, or spiritually.
And to that suffering we bring an intention to heal and relieve.
We can place a hand on our heart space and say “I see, I hear you, I’m here for you.”
As we go out and take action in the world, we notice the suffering of others. We see if there is something we can do to help.
Maybe it is just offering a hug, offering to listen, or saying “I understand.”
Sometimes it’s a simple loving act that can make a difference in someone’s day.
What would our world look like if everyone practiced compassion?
Start with yourself and practice 1 act of compassion today.
So that’s it. That’s the MAGIC 🙂 (Mindfulness, Action, Gratitude, Insight, Compassion).
Remember, these are practices, not destinations.
There is no perfect place of arrival. Instead, with every moment of every day, we intend for mindfulness, valued action, gratitude, insight, and compassion.
With continued practice, I have a feeling your life, and the lives of others, could become a life of MAGIC indeed.
Until next time,
P.S. I am starting a new Mindfulness group called Everyday Mindfulness for Stress and Anxiety in Oakland. Click the link above for more info and contact me if you, or someone you know, would like to join!