Hello and welcome to Friday, October 29, 2021. Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again.
If living a mindful life, being present, peaceful, happy, and calm were attainable by reading a book on it, we’d all be living this way.
I’m reminded of my late cousin, Patti. Patti was a remarkable K-12 educator and school principal for many years. While in some areas and institutions education is moving in a more useful and beneficial direction, Patti explained to me how children are often taught. She used a learning how to ride a bike as an example.
In the early years, we look at pictures of bikes and explore all the different types. After we understand what a bike is, we learn about the history of the bike. As we get a little older, we’re taught about how bikes are built and how to pick the right size. In our high school years, we explore the physics of how to operate a bicycle. As Patti explained, students will graduate high school with all this information about bicycles without knowing how to ride one.
While this doesn’t apply in all situations, in many others it does. This isn’t to say that having a solid foundation in our understating of whatever it is that we’re interested in is unimportant, it most definitely is. Unfortunately, many of us stop there – with the knowledge. We never actually get on the bike. And if we do give the bike a try, we’re often demoralized and give up too soon because we can’t already ride well. We often think our knowledge should suffice.
When I first became interested in Mindfulness about ten years ago, it was because I was told about its importance and how it can help one to live a more meaningful life imbued with attention and intention. I remember chatting with folks who practice Mindfulness, I read a few books, I watched a documentary or two, and I even went to a retreat. With all my knowledge (which wasn’t much as it turns out), with all my desire to be Mindful, I still didn’t have the capacity to do so. Even with the knowledge I had, I often found myself making unhealthy choices out of habit. So, guess what I did – I read another book and went to another retreat. Following the new book or retreat, I’d initially be inspired and do well. In time, however, the feeling wore off and I was back living in the world of habit. Frustrated.
It wasn’t until my year-long Mindfulness teacher training course that I finally embodied the importance of practice. Learning how to be present is a practice. Learning how to be calm is a practice. Learning how to be kind, compassionate, and caring are all practices. We’ve got to get on the bike, fall off a few times, scrape our knees, and get back on and pedal, pedal, pedal.
This in no way suggests that you need to enroll in a year-long Mindfulness course (if you have the aspiration and opportunity, do it). But you don’t have to flail like I did either. I knew that I wanted to be present, I knew how to do it, but I didn’t engage in my Mindfulness/meditation practice enough for it to be as productive as it could have been.
This idea expands beyond the world of bicycles and Mindfulness. It applies to pretty much every aspect of our life – especially when it comes to personal development. If we are to be successful, whatever that means to you, we must put our knowledge into action. As my dear friend Dusty says, “You can starve reading a cookbook!”
As a Mindfulness-based certified Life Coach/Mentor, I can help you to make that transition from knowing how you want to live, to actually living it! I’m here to help.
You are Loved by me, Unconditionally!
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