Moving from meditation and mindfulness being just another task that needs to be completed to an opportunity for peace and clarity can be a shift in mindset that makes the practice much better. Learning to appreciate the time you can spend in meditation, allowing thoughts to come and go, and finding the blue sky beyond the clouds is an essential part of the journey. I am working to both find the time to complete the task and appreciate the time I have when I have it.
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” John 1:12
Today, I am grateful for poetry. Honestly, I don’t read poetry as much or as often as I should. However when I do, I find that every emotion can be found. Wisdom, support, anguish, love, laughter, sadness, pain, happiness, and faith can all be found in the written word. My grandfather wrote beautiful poetry and reading it helps me remember him. My favorite poem is The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. For poetry, I am grateful.
Taking the time to learn and practice mindfulness is teaching me so much about myself. I’m learning how impatient I’ve been in my life, how little attention I pay to the essential things in life, and how much attention I pay to inconsequential things. Even though I get out of bed every morning and start my day, I spend much of the day asleep, unaware of what I am doing or why I am doing it. Mindfulness helps you live each day as if you are awake for it rather than sleeping through it. You can focus on the moment at hand rather than all of the moments to come.
“Only that day dawns to which we are awake.” - Henry David Thoreau
“I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.” Psalms 57:9-11
Today, I am grateful that May is Mental Health Month. Working in the Emergency Medical Services as long as I have, I’ve seen many patients suffering from mental health issues, are unable to live everyday lives, and are often seen as outcasts. These outcomes need not be the norm. Mental illness should not have a negative stigma. There should be help available for all who need it. This past week one of my co-workers quit her role as an EMT because of PTSD and the inability to do the job. We all need to be willing to ask for help and talk about our struggles. For Mental Health Month, I am grateful.
How many times have you missed a crucial moment unintentionally? For example, you took the time to go to your son’s baseball game but then failed to see his great defensive play at first base because your attention was on your phone or in a book or talking to another parent. If you are anything like me, this happens far too often. It’s innocent and not intentional, but the fact remains that you missed an opportunity to share in the excitement because you were not present in the moment. Mindfulness helps bring you back to the present and stay there, focused on what you are doing, not everything else. Being present makes your moments more meaningful and your presence more powerful.
Today, I am grateful for Google Maps. Seriously, I have no idea how any got anywhere without GPS and Google Maps. Today, I had the simple task of getting my son, and his teammates delivered safely to their baseball game at a different school. Getting there proved to be a challenge - even with Google Maps and GPS. We found our way eventually, but I would have been totally lost without the aid of my trusty smartphone and maps. For Google Maps, I am grateful.
The purpose of mindfulness is not to empty your mind of all thoughts and somehow find peace in your emptiness. Instead, the purpose of mindfulness is to be with your thoughts, allow them to come and pass by, acknowledging them, and returning to your home base without becoming attached to your ideas. There is a difference between these two and finding that difference is one of keys to finding utility in the practice.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37
Today, I am grateful for friendly people at the gym. The gym can be an intimidating place. When its busy you always feel like you might be in the way and when it’s slow you feel like everyone is watching you. Finding a friendly face that is willing to help you when you have questions or need guidance is great. More people need to go out of their way to be friendly at the gym and help others. For this, I am grateful.
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15
Today, I am grateful for getting things done and checking them off my list. Each and every day I ahve a list of items that I need to get done. Everything from exercise to reading the Bible. Each time I get one of these things done, I check it off my list and move on to the next item. For being able to check items off my list, I am grateful.
An essential aspect of my mindfulness practice is to improve myself for the benefit of those I love. For my wife, I’m working to be a better husband. I want to be more patient, compassionate, and present in the things we are doing. For my kids, I’m working to be a better father. I want to be more present in what they are doing and be a better role model for living a meaningful life. For my coworkers, I want to be someone they can trust and a good friend. Each day during meditation, I focus on these people and hope to become a better version of myself.
Today was a long, but awesome, day. Spent some time with my parents and my family and just had fun. It was a nice break, felt like a true weekend. Too foten we are so busy that we fail to notice that life is passing us by, that we are missing the things that should be the most important to us. Family, friends, and laughing. MIndfulness has helped me understand that being present for these moments is the sinlge most important thing you can do.
“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord .” Joshua 24:14
Today, I am grateful for physical fitness. I have been blessed to have somewhat of a second chance at living a life with a healthy body. In my youger years I started down the road of obesity and ill-health. Thankfully, I recognized where I was headed and took steps to change my path. It was not on my own and I certianly had a lot of help along the way. Maintaining physical fitness and health is a daily battle. Some days I win and sometimes bad habits, junk food, and laziness take over. For phycial fitness, I am grateful.
Mindfulness Journal - May 1, 2021 - Day 33 of 365 Keeping an open mind going into meditation is an important part of mindfulness. If you approach your meditation sessions with expectations or desired outcomes, you will find it difficult to be successful. Rather, keeping your mind open to whatever comes will allow your sessions to be more positive and deliver better results.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” Luke 6:32-35
Gratitude Journal - May 1, 2021 Today, I am grateful for electricity. The power of electricity brings so much into our everyday lives; heat, air conditioning, lights, television, internet, and much more. Many of the modern conveniences we take for granted every day would not be possible without electricity. For electricity, I am grateful.
Mindfulness Journal - April 30, 2021 - Day 32 of 365 Today’s meditation was longer than I’ve gone before and I really enjoyed the extra time. While it was only 5 minutes longer than yesterday, the extra time was nice. It allowed me the time to focus and let the distratections move past. Overall, a good experience.
Gratitude Journal - April 30, 2021 Today, I am grateful for the spellchecker. I spell words wrong all the time and, thanks to my trusty spellchecker, they usually get corrected. Having words misspelled looks unprofessional and reduces confidence. For spellcheck, I am grateful.
Mindfulness Journal - April 29, 2021 - Day 31 of 365 As I continue to grow in my mindfulness practice, I am coming to learn that mindfulness does not require a place, it does not require a particular time, and mindfulness does not require a special chair or a fancy pillow. Mindfulness can come to you anywhere you are and can take you to anywhere you need to be. You can be alone, or God Himself can join you in your meditation. There are no limits and no restrictions. Everything you need can be found in your focus and your breath.
If you are restricting yourself to the correct location, time, or setting for your mindfulness practice, you miss a crucial aspect of mindfulness; mindfulness will meet you where you are.