Mindful - present - aware. These words refer to the same experience of your life. To be mindful is to be awake to your life - not walking around in a daze, not driving 10 miles and having no memory of how you got there, not getting to the end of the day and recognizing that you cannot remember experiencing your day. To be mindful is to be alive to your life.

The phrase "what is, is" expresses the reality of reality. If you stub your toe, you stubbed your toe. It hurts. That is the "is" of the moment. Your toe hurts. Is that bad? Or good? Or is it just the fact of this moment? It is.

If you fight against reality, it is rather like hitting your head against a wall. The wall will not move, but your head will hurt. It you face the wall and recognize it is there, you are practicing awareness of the reality of the wall. You are being mindful. If you are afraid of the wall or angry at the wall, those feelings are not bad. They are just feelings. To be mindful of your feelings, you are aware of them. You experience them.

An important ingredient in mindfulness is to be aware without judgment. You accept life, yourself, others, situations, experiences as they are. They are. That does not mean that you approve, condone, agree with a person or situation - it just means that you face the reality, the "isness" of the situation. The Serenity Prayer carries this truth of mindfulness. It says:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

In the community of recovering alcoholics and addicts, a question is asked about what I can change. What do I have power to change? Not others. Only myself, my choices in situations. I cannot control another person. And I have to accept the reality before I can work towards changing myself or anything else. 

Awareness. Acceptance.

A definition of mindfulness might be: The ability to live your life, one moment at a time, feeling what there is to be felt, hearing what there is to hear, seeing what there is to see, knowing what there is to know, be present with what there is to do - IN THIS MOMENT. You are being awake to your life.  

This practice of mindfulness means that your bring your attention back again and again to this moment. You have no other moment. Only this one. Think about it. Getting caught up in your thoughts about this moment causes you to lose this moment. 

For example: If when you are brushing your daughter's hair, you are thinking about what happened to her or about the abuser and how horrible this thing is, or about the investigation ---- you will not experience the joy of brushing your daughter's hair, of feeling its smooth silkiness, or talking to her and listening to her as you do this, of smelling the shampoo in her hair, seeing the shine, noticing the sun coming in through the window, feeling the pleasure of this one simple moment. You would have lost all that.

Instead, with mindfulness, you bring your attention back, one thought by one thought, to the here and now. Out of the used to be. Out of the may have been. Out of the should have been. Out of the will be. Out of every thought process that is not now.  

Mindfulness is awake, aware, and alert to the here and now of this moment. With all five senses, experiencing life. Sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. You see the leaves fall off the trees. You hear the wind. You smell the casserole in the oven. Or the bubble bath. You come alive. You are bringing your intention and your purpose to being present to your life and experiencing it.  

It is sometimes fear that keeps you from facing reality. Be mindful of the fear. What does it say to you? Where do you feel it? What is the experience of fear? Be still and examine it. See what happens.  

There is a very old saying, "In acceptance lieth peace." 

In acceptance of this moment, only this moment, not the last one, not the next one - you can find peace.  

Mindfulness: Inner Resource for Recovery from Sexual Abuse is also a wonderful resource for mothers. As you practice mindfulness, you model to your child. This can have rich dividends for both her and your future. long-term consequences of the abuse can be reduced, and you can experience greater enjoyment of your life - even now. 



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