Aaron Engelsrud

Mindfulness Journal - April 16, 2021 - Day 18 of 365 My meditation today focused on my breathing and how thoughts can impact the breath. When you are not actively thinking about your breath, it just works—air in, air out. You don’t even recognize that it is happening. However, when you start paying attention to the breath, you find that each breath is different. Each chest rise is more or less than the last, and the volume of air and length of intake continually changes. Anxiety can cause you to breathe differently. Exercise can make your lungs work harder. Everything you do can impact the automatic process of bringing air in and out of your lungs. Yet, we very rarely even think of what is happening. We are not present enough to recognize the subtle changes in our bodies. Mindfulness helps me bring this presence back to other parts of my life by allowing me to focus on the simplest of things and let everything else pass by.

“God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.” Psalms 47:5-7

Gratitude Journal - April 16, 2021 Today, I am grateful for getting up early and accomplishing a couple of my most important tasks. The quiet of the morning helps me achieve the things I need to without interruption. For this, I am grateful.

Mindfulness Journal - April 15, 2021 - Day 17 of 365 Today I focused on applying my mindfulness techniques to my stretching routine. Today’s routine was long and I use the breathing and focus techniques to help make the time and stress of stretching pass a little bit quicker. It worked very well and I was able to find clam while improving my flexibility. Big win.

“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”” Psalms 46:10

Gratitude Journal - Apirl 15, 2021 Today, I am grateful for all the wonderful places I have visited in my life. While I am not a world traveler by any means, I have had opportunities to see much of the United States. Some of what I saw was from a bus window traveling during high school, other times I was traveling for work or a family vacation. Every corner of this country is unique, interesting, and beautiful. For this, I am grateful.

Mindfulness Journal - April 14, 2021 - Day 16 of 365 I worked overnight last night at the fire station and got very little sleep. As such, when I went to meditate this morning once I was done, I was concerned that I was just going to fall asleep. What I found was the opposite. I was able to focus better, concentrate more fully, and follow the prompts more easily. Today was a good day.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Luke 16:13

Gratitude Journal - April 14, 2021 Today, I am grateful for crisp, clean, and fresh-smelling bedding. There is nothing better than crawling into a nice bed with clean sheets, especially when you are tired. I am looking forward to heading to bed soon. For this, I am grateful.

Mindfulness Journal - April 13, 2021 - Day 15 of 365 I started the day off today with some headspace and found some calm. Excellent.

“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

Gratitude Journal - April 13, 2021 Today, I am grateful for Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson was a high school teacher who made me understand that I could do more and be more than I thought I could. He believed in me, and because of that, I tried harder and pushed myself. He wasn’t always nice, and there were times I thought he was mean, but today I realize he just cared. Not many people like that find their way into your life, and I am thankful that he was my teacher. Mr. Johnson died many years ago, but I have never forgotten him. For Mr. Johnson (and all the other teachers like him), I am grateful.

Mindfulness Journal - April 12, 2021 - Day 14 of 365 Today was not a very productive session, and that’s ok. I’m good with it. Part of learning mindfulness as a skill and practice is learning to accept that some days will not feel as relaxing or calming as others. Some days may feel like a bit of a chore, one more thing that needs to get done in an already busy schedule. I hope that I’ll have less of those days and more of the calming and productive days that I have come to enjoy, but I need to be willing to accept whatever comes. Tomorrow is another day, and the blue sky is always just beyond the clouds.

“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Hebrews 11:3

Gratitude Journal - April 12, 2021 Today, I am grateful for people who genuinely care about the environment and are working to find ways to take better care of our planet. I firmly believe that those fighting for our planet’s health are doing so from a genuinely good place. They are looking to make the world better for all of us. Regardless of if I always agree with the message or tactics, I choose to believe that their motivation is positive. For this, I am grateful.

Mindfulness Journal - April 11, 2021 - Day 13 of 365 I was able to keep my meditation practice on point today and gained some solid understanding from the process. Today I added in the concept of understanding my meditation practice’s intended outcome and who I am aiming to benefit from this work. This understanding is essential as it expands the importance and necessity of this process as I am no longer doing it solely for my benefit. Others will profit from my effort. Through this process, I can improve the lives of those I love and care about.

I am enjoying this process.

“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27

Gratitude Journal - April 11, 2021 Today, I am grateful for people who have different opinions than I do. It is only through listening and being open to others who may not share your thoughts that learning can happen. Listening and understanding do not mean I have to agree with everything I hear. The process of listening and being open to other thoughts is the key to both acceptance and accepting others. We don’t all have to agree, but we should listen and understand various perspectives. For this, I am grateful.

Mindfulness Journal - April 10, 2021 - Day 12 of 365 I was up early this morning and able to meditate in a quiet house. Today’s focus was on identifying why I am working on mindfulness as a practice. What am I hoping to gain from the time I am spending in meditation? I’m sure everyone’s answer to this question is a little different. For me, the answer lies in finding a way to be more confident, more present, and better able to deal with daily life stress. Anxiety and worry have always been issues for me. Finding ways to deal with these stressors more productively would be a significant improvement. Meditation and mindfulness are one way I can attack this problem.

“He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light.” Job 12:22

Gratitude Journal - APril 10, 2021 Today, I am grateful that every once in a while, someone enjoys my writing. I like to write and really don’t do any of my journaling for anyone but myself, but I feel a certain sense of pride when someone else finds what I write worth reading. It makes the process just a little bit better. For this, I am grateful.

Mindfulness Journal - April 9, 2021 - Day 11 of 365 Today was a good day. I had a medical procedure (a spinal injection for low-back pain) and found myself a bit anxious. I used my breathing focus to find calm and let my anxiety pass. A great application of mindfulness that helped me a lot.

“We love because he first loved us” 1 John 4:19

Gratitude Journal - April 9, 2021 Today, I am grateful for the talented doctor and staff that took care of my back procedure today. I am hopeful that this will reduce my lower back pain. For this, I am grateful.

Mindfulness Journal - April 8, 2021 - Day 10 of 365 Today’s meditation focused on working to gain an understanding of what types of thoughts cause you the most distraction. What are the ideas that you find the most difficult to let go of? Typically I find that the most challenging thoughts for me are all the things I have yet to accomplish. I get caught up thinking about the next thing I need to do and what I need to do after that. I’ve lost all focus before I know it, and my mind is halfway down the street. I’m hopeful that a better understanding of where I lose focus and what I find challenging to recover from will improve my overall mindfulness.