We get swept up in the day-to-day life stuff. It happens to all of us.
The to-do lists, the wishing we had more money, wishing our country had a different leader, wishing we lived in a different country, and it goes on. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. There’s no judgment for any of that here.
Yet, how much presence do these wishes remove from your life?
I’m not saying you should passively accept your circumstances and do nothing about them if they don’t serve you. I’m never saying to remain in abusive or toxic environments. What I am saying is that, without the cultivation of grounded presence, we can tend to get swept up in our discontent, to the point where we’re unable to do anything about the circumstances we don’t like. Instead, all we are able to do is numb the discontent (e.g. eat, drink, watch TV, scroll through social media, etc.).
Mindfulness is how we learn how to cultivate presence when we feel safe to do so, instead of numbing.
It’s how we shift from drowning in our discontent, to observing (while still feeling) our discontent. It takes practice.
This exercise is perfect at any level, and is one that will gradually help you return to the awe of being alive– or at the least, to a more grounded state, from which you can then move to love and care for yourself in a way that supports you rather than distracts you.
You can do this practice anywhere; all you need to do is pretend that today is your very first day on Earth.
Imagine you’re an alien, and your consciousness was beamed down into this human body. You’ve never seen this body or this planet before. Whatever you’re doing when you choose to do this exercise, I want to pretend as if you’re doing it from an alien’s consciousness.
Don’t think too hard about it. The idea is not to figure out how an alien would really perceive all this; that will only stimulate your mind further.
Instead, simply see, feel, hear, taste, and smell everything around you with brand new eyes.
To help you understand what this practice feels like, I’m going to put into words what I notice when I practice this.
It’s spring on my side of the Earth. I see the way the trees and flowers have burst into bloom. The plants I see appear colorful, vibrant, alive, and attractive. The leaves’ shadows dance on the ground and I hear the birds tweeting somewhere in the distance. One soars in the air high above me. The air feels warm and slightly damp, and the sun, straight overhead, beams down like a spotlight. There’s a light breeze. The white flowers on a nearby tree match the puffy clouds steadily drifting through the sky, while the blue matches the color of the hammock I’m in.
The idea behind this exercise is that becoming fully aware of our environment and what our senses take in brings us into full presence.
Presence, in turn, roots us in our bodies rather than spinning past or future situations inside our minds. Presence grounds us in authenticity and self-love, rather than our minds’ fearful state.
I’d also like to note that the idea is not to be in this state of pretending you’re an alien 24 hours a day. The intent here is to practice this for a few minutes (2-5 minutes is fine!) and observe how you feel afterwards; whether or not you choose to write about your experience is up to you.
If you feel that this practice resonates with you, I suggest making it a daily practice! This is a great way to care for yourself, by keeping a promise to yourself to practice this mindfulness exercise for a small amount of time every day (while forgiving yourself when you aren’t able to keep the promise, of course).
Please let me know how this practice goes for you by leaving a comment or sending me an email! I’d love to hear how it felt for you.
My hope is that this practice allows you to ease into an embodied state of self-love, instead of being swept up in discontent and self-criticism. Of course, please do offer yourself compassionate space for the discontent that you feel, as there is nothing wrong at all with experiencing this feeling state.
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