A short while ago I opened an opportunity for people to send me stories of mindfulness that can show the rest of us how it has had a practical impact on a particular event or their lives. I’m calling this column of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, “Voices.”
A number of people wrote it with stories and now, as long as there are good stories that teach the rest of us how mindfulness can work in our lives, I will choose from them from time to time to post on Mindfulness and Psychotherapy.
Of course those that get chosen can also send me a link that I’ll include in the post where people can learn more about them.
Here’s a true story from Sara Boilen, Psy.D. about a simple way to bring us back to our intentions.
The bells rang four times an hour. It was a simple song that started with just a few notes at quarter past and blossomed into a full melody at the top of the hour. The library’s tower, just across from the counseling center’s offices housed the music maker and the source of mindful moments throughout the day.
Our group was called Everyday Mindfulness. The idea was to provide college students an opportunity to cultivate mindfulness skills that they could use when studying, struggling with stress, walking through campus, or just needing a reality check. We watched leaves, ate chocolate cake, laughed, listened, talked, and focused our awareness.
One day, my coworker Elisabeth and I introduced the idea of using the banal ringing of the bells as a regularly scheduled cue to come back to your self, your intention, your awareness, and your surroundings. We soon realized that crows, train whistles, and even car horns could serve as such a reminder. Using what was already in our everyday life, we found a gentle nudge toward being more aware.
For us, we used the bells. Every fifteen minutes we were granted the opportunity to center ourselves and in time, the bells became a reminder of the sense of community that we all found in our weekly therapy group. It became a sense of home – within each of us. A moment of pause and a gentle reminder of our intention to become more aware.
Creating reminders in our environment is a wonderful way to help prime us to what really matters. This can be the ringing from our phones, a green sticker on our computers or a picture of someone who exudes presence and compassion. Be creative, start creating reminders in your environment today.
Thank you Sara!
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
Photo by lunchtimemama, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.
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Last reviewed: 28 Sep 2011