COMMITTING TO THE PRESENT MOMENT

“Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.” ~ John Kabat-Zinn

BP; Desert Plain

I love the above quote from John Kabat-Zinn, especially because he uses the word, commit, very intentionally.  Commit has a Latin origin, meaning to join, combine; to bring together. The more modern definition of commit is to carry out, pledge, bind, or devote.  It also refers to the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, or undertaking.

Reflecting on how commitment applies to the present moment really shifted the way I thought about being present.  Think about joining and binding, bringing you together with the here & now — combining into one totality of experience — that this is all there is and this is where it’s at…where life happens.

I often think how esoteric this may seem due to the mundane and everydayness of life.  We tend to not connect with the present moment and miracles happening day-to-day.  It’s really not something we think about as days of our lives go by. I believe that many of us live the majority of our lives lost in our thoughts without even realizing it.  I go more into depth about this in a previous article, “Why You Should Think About Your Death.”

I believe that we all have different degrees of FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) when it comes to staying in the present moment. FoMO is usually associated with social media, but I think it really maps onto the present moment as well.  We all tend to get pulled into the past or future, perhaps being afraid we might forget something we’ll have to do later.  This constant thinking about what we will do later disconnects us with right now.  Sometimes the present moment is unpleasant or uncomfortable, and it becomes even more difficult to stay there. The end result is not being fully present in the here and now.

That should be the real FoMO. Continue reading COMMITTING TO THE PRESENT MOMENT

ON THE JOURNEY OF SPIRITUALITY & RELIGION 

“Spirituality is something innate in all of us…we all have something within us that yearns for the divine and the sacred.  Religion is our human attempt to figure that out, make meaning of it, and express it.” ~ Lyle Peters

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We often find ourselves in different places during our spiritual journey.  In this episode of the Mindful Owl podcast, Lyle Peters and I discuss religion and spirituality within the context of Christianity.

Some topics discussed are:

  • Religion vs Spirituality
  • Were we socialized to believe in God or practice a religion?
  • Can science and religion coexist?
  • Ego and self-righteousness
  • The Great Schism of 1054
  • 16th century Protestant Reformation

Lyle has a wide background in religious studies and theology, from serving eight years in the priesthood to music ministry. Lyle was kind enough to share some of his perspective and personal journey thus far, and it is full of wonderful insights.Lyle received a Master of Divinity from University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. Lyle is currently the pastoral associate for liturgy and music at St. Joseph Catholic Community Church in Eldersburg, Maryland.

Hope you enjoy!

Mindful Owl Podcast – Ep.2 – On the Journey of Spirituality & Religion

NEW PODCAST! MINDFULNESS IN SCHOOLS

“Were so busy following a script and putting academics in front of kids, that we forget that they’re people–learning truly only happens through relationship.” ~ Shannon Hess

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How can we really make a difference in the world through education?  In this episode, Shannon Hess and I discuss some of the problems in education today, and how implementing mindfulness and teaching empathy can be a solution.

Shannon has a wide breadth and background in education. She is currently an induction coordinator for new teachers, mindfulness educator, and social justice advocate in California.  Shannon has a passion for making a difference in the lives of others through connecting to what we all share in common within our humanity. Shannon advocates for the importance of the relationship and discusses ways on how we can revolutionize education, ultimately changing the world.

Keep an eye out for The Five Ms Project, which focuses on self-care and mental well-being.

Mental Health, Mindset, Mindfulness, Mindsight, Movement

Hope you enjoy!

Mindful Owl Podcast – Ep.1 – Mindfulness in Schools

Resources and links discussed in this episode:

https://www.spiritrock.org

http://thehawnfoundation.org

http://www.stillquietplace.com

You can reach and connect with Shannon at sh41ster@gmail.com

For more on relationships and breaking the generational cycle as discussed in this episode, check out What Matters Most and Breaking the Vicious Cycle.

WHY YOU SHOULD THINK ABOUT YOUR DEATH

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you will ever have.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

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The inevitable death.  Your death.  The fact that all of “this” is not going to last forever. The thought of your own existence not continuing can be scary. Sound depressing? Well, contemplating your own death doesn’t necessarily have to be.  Lately, I’ve been thinking about death almost every day.  I find it interesting that the older people get, the more they seem to think about death. On the other hand, thinking about death is almost non-existent with younger people.  I think it would greatly benefit younger generations to be more mindful of death.

Mortality salience, or realizing that your death is in fact, inevitable, can give rise to a much more appreciative, fulfilling, and present life. This appreciation and fulfillment can be found with or without any consideration of religious beliefs.  In other words, your ability to appreciate life’s moments doesn’t depend on whether or not you’re religious. This is not to say that religion or a belief in the afterlife isn’t helpful, as religion is very helpful to me. There’s more to it than just religion in and of itself. A deep attention and presence is still necessary to fully appreciate the significance of what’s really going on from moment to moment.  Being mindful of death and our mortality is a catalyst for this.

Most of the time, it appears that we all casually gloss over some very significant and deeply profound moments in our lives.  Even the moments that can be categorized as mundane have just as much significance and profundity as any other moment. Sometimes, those moments don’t seem to register as important “in the moment.” Later upon reflection, perhaps as memories, we may feel those moments were in fact, significant, but we weren’t really “there” for them.  We find it hard to connect to the present moment when we are incessantly looking for happiness in the future, which never arrives. Continue reading WHY YOU SHOULD THINK ABOUT YOUR DEATH