Becoming aware of. Being present to. Witnessing. Feeling. Being at home in my body. As I’ve been focusing on this concept of mindfulness, these things routinely come to mind. What does it actually mean to be mindful? It’s certainly a buzzword these days, but what does it actually mean? Probably something different for you and probably something different for me.

I consider myself a pretty mindful person. I definitely tend to notice things. My environment. What someone is wearing. Someone’s energy vibe. The light. I always find myself noticing the light. Or searching for it.

My mind also goes a gazillion miles an hour sometimes and I easily become distracted and disjointed if I allow myself to follow the spiral of these fleeting but ever present thoughts. I also notice less when I have too much to do, when I feel like I’m running from one thing to the next. Or when I’m worried about something or avoiding doing something, for whatever “you name it” reasoning I conjure up, most often times not even based in reality.

The more I do yoga and meditate, the more I find myself using my breath without me even knowing it. Instead of racing to get kids (or drop them off), I notice my breath as I’m driving. I have to get kids either way you slice it, so I might as well enjoy the ride, right? Noticing the bare trees now, the afternoon light (when it’s sunny!), using my breath to simply settle into what is . . . at hand.

If I compare how I feel when I’m rushing from thing to thing and not noticing versus when I’m operating at a more slowed, mindful pace, it’s a no brainer as to which I prefer. It’s funny though too, again, as I develop this practice, I think I’m even getting better at being mindful when I’m rushing around too. I’m going to have to ponder that a bit more.

This is all to say that I think we would all benefit from noticing . . . more. However that might play out for you. Taking time to be more present in your life. Noticing the beauty. Or chaos. Or calamity. Whatever it may be.

I’ve been sharing some pictures from our summer trip out west to Canyonlands National Park. I’m drawn to these snapshots because of their beauty, yes, but also for the feelings they invoke in me right here, right now, today sitting at my desk in middle Michigan. In the cold.

Why can’t we always live and feel like we do when we’re on vacation? Now there’s another item to ponder! We probably can’t, darn it. But we can probably move closer into ourselves, who we are, what we create on a daily basis, who we come in contact with, what we experience in our environment, by leaning into our breath more often and simply . . .

. . . noticing what is at hand.