Mindfulness Lessons

Think back to something that you experienced that left an imprint on your being.  We all have plenty of them, it’s what helps to make us grow and become better, wiser human beings.  I tell this story often to my yoga students when the class is being interrupted by some kind of sound like construction or traffic outside, etc..

Back in spring of 2012, I visited my cousin in Thailand and we did some traveling together.  At one point of our trip when we were on a private tour of the Thai countryside, we had gone to an elephant park.  We visited with and rode an elephant, then hopped onto a bamboo raft to drift on down the river while the sun was setting.

Heaven, right?  An authentic handmade bamboo raft, the sun warming my skin as we floated on down the calm river. Bright, lush green trees surrounding us wherever we looked, in the silence of nature.  Until…this really loud, obnoxious generator or something that was happening in the woods began to flood our ears.  We couldn’t see beyond the trees so we had no idea where it was coming from or what the heck it was.  I became fixated on this noise – concerned and outraged.  How could it interrupt this precious once in a lifetime moment I was experiencing?!  I was so frustrated! (Stress response activated!)

Then it hit me…I could continue to be frustrated and confused as to what the noise was…or I could just LET IT GO.  So I did.  As the noise cackled on, I brought my attention back to how the sunset was glowing against the gentle ripples of the water creating a river of golden shimmer.  I took my sunglasses off so that I could close my eyes and fully feel the warmth of the sun’s rays on my face/eyes.  I sat down and just took in as much of the experience as I could, all while letting go of that wretched sound, and being thankful for those first few moments of the trip in silence. It worked. (Stress response soothed)

I climbed off of that raft in that Thai river with quite a beautiful lesson in mindfulness – that things won’t always be picture perfect and up to our expectations. Life is unpredictable and it’s best to practice acceptance and roll with whatever it brings your way. Remember that things are temporary. And if you can, focus on a few other blessings in those moments so that you’re not bogged down by what your ideal situation would be.

What experience has imprinted you with a beautiful mindfulness lesson?

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