An Invitation To Practice Mindfulness
There is no time like right now…and right now…and right now…to live the life you feel called to live. There is no other goal to be reached, no dollar amount you must first amass, no person that must come calling.
You are invited....
Another year comes to a close. Another day comes to a close. Another moment comes to a close.
Another year begins. Another day begins. Another moment begins.
The changing of a calendar year always brings reason for nostalgia and dream-making. I love spending time thinking about all that unexpectedly changed and all that might be.
But we don't need a date on the calendar to practice awareness of our changing lives.
We don't need the clock to strike midnight to ring in the start of a resolution. Every moment of our lives (like this one Right Now) is an opportunity to practice living life how we want to live it. In fact, this moment is the only opportunity we have.
We are currently working on mindfulness practices offered in the book, "How To Train a Wild Elephant and Other Adventures in Mindfulness" by Jan Chozen Bays.
Each week, I choose a new practice to be integrated into my daily life. I write brief posts about this on a new page on this site (/wild-elephant-project/ ) and join in discussion with you (via the comments section) about our challenges and rewards. I will be sending out emails to those who sign up as a reminder to participate (in case you forget to check the site).
NEW: 5/15/2012: You can also join our Facebook group to join in the discussion!
There is no cost to participate - other than a bit of self-discipline. These practices do not require any set-aside time - they are meant to be part of your daily life.
How This Will Work
Each week we will try – together – one simple practice. I will introduce the practice at the beginning of the week. Throughout the week, I will share how things are going on my end via our Facebook group – what obstacles I’ve run into, what effect the mindfulness practice is having, my thoughts. At the end of the week, I will offer a brief wrap-up of what I’ve learned and how I plan to keep this practice going in my life (or not).
This will be set up in a simple blog format through a new page on this site (/wild_elephant_practice) . I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO ENGAGE IN DISCUSSION THROUGH THE COMMENTS OR ON THE FACEBOOK PAGE. You can always just read along as to how things are progressing. But for this to change your life in any way, you will need to do the practices as well.
These practices are very simple and are meant to be integrated into your daily life…not something that will be separate from it. For example, one of the first practices is using your non-dominant hand for daily tasks. So don’t allow an excuse of “I don’t have time” to prevent you from taking part. You can participate in as many or as few as you would like.
What You Need To Do
1) While there is no way I can enforce this, I ask that you PURCHASE A COPY OF THE BOOK (How To Train A Wild Elephant And Other Adventures in Mindfulness by Jan Chozen Bays). I ask this out of respect: The author is a person like any of us, one who spent years in practice and dedicated time to share what she (and others) learned. Donating your money is a karmic sign of respect and honor for all she has done…and think of what you get in return! For those without financial fortunes, I suggest checking out your local library (ours had a copy) or perhaps going in with a friend to purchase the book. A bonus for the latter: You have an accountability partner!
I will only be offering the practices suggested in the book: Not the explanations behind them nor the deeper insight that the text offers. Purchasing the book allows you access to the wisdom that someone with far more years of practice than I can offer.
You can purchase copies of the book at your local bookstore (yay for shopping local!) or online here:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/xBwfxR (Karma note: This is an affiliate link)
2) Again, while you can just read along and practice on your own, I suggest that you engage in discussion on the weekly practice by reading and leaving comments on the blog (in the comments section after each post) or on the Facebook Group Page. I will regularly check this and respond. Together we will find support and encouragement (and perhaps a few tips) to keep us going.
The posts and the comments also provide a nice way for us to remember where we’ve been…and perhaps a place for us to return.
3) I will also be doing art projects to go along with the mindfulness practices. You are welcome to do the same. As of right now, I’m not planning on setting up a Flickr group to display our art. I don’t want the art to become about “show”…about making it “look good”. However, I know it is also encouraging to have a place to express your experiences, so this might change.
4) Finally, I ask that you sign up for the Wild Elephant mailing list HERE.
I ask this for a couple of reasons:
Number one, I will be sending blog posts out via this newsletter. This means you will receive the posts in your inbox. This will hopefully help you to remember to practice even if you don’t have time to make it over to the blog.
Number two, this provides a way for me to keep in touch with each participant in the group in case something relevant comes up (i.e. I decide to add the Flickr group).
I promise: This mailing list is just for this group practice. I won’t be contacting people on this list for any reason other than things related to this practice and – of course – won’t be passing along your information to anyone else.
THE PROJECT IS NOW IN PROGRESS, BUT YOU CAN JOIN IN AT ANY TIME.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me (lifeunity (at) gmail dot com).
(Regular posting will continue on this site outside of the Wild Elephant Project)
Finally, whether or not you will be joining me on this adventure, I invite you to spend a moment right now in a mindful breath. Try another. In the flow and in the pauses, celebrate gratitude for every decision that has carried you through your life. (I am celebrating right now each and every one of you for taking the time to be with me.)
Invite even more gratitude for each decision you are about to make ....and the one you made right now to be present with this moment.
May every moment be one lived in mindful awareness.