At the beginning of this series I mentioned that it would not be the daily blog postings you have become accustomed to from me. I believe I characterized that this series might seem “chaotic” at times. That is because I wanted you to take time to participate in the series subject matter – mindfulness. When we are practicing mindfulness, we are, quite simply, fully in the moment in which we are living. More importantly, we are aware of every aspect of that moment.
Once upon a time I taught young children problem solving and anger management. We used the hand in explaining to children there were steps they could take to react positively to the messy time of life. In problem solving I taught them to first identify their problem. That might sound silly but all too often, we get so caught up in our emotions that we are simply reacting instead of acting.
The second step in problem solving is to think of solutions and the third step is to imagine those solutions being put to good use. The fourth step would be try the best possible solutions and the fifth step – to evaluate and, most importantly – do not be afraid or ashamed to start all over again.
The five steps of anger management sound fairly simply, especially compared to those of problem solving and yet, they are actually quite harder. The first step is to take a deep breath. Do not yell or scream but simply breathe. Then we taught the children to count to five. This puts some space between you and the root of your anger. It also helps you to proceed with deliberate and hopefully positive action rather than simply react in a defensive and often unproductive manner. And, we encouraged the children to count to five several times. The fourth step was to feel good about one’s self and the fifth – well, the fifth was to problem solve the cause of one’s anger.
Both of these are examples of using mindfulness. Life is messy and chaotic and we usually try to find the quickest way out of such situations. The problem is that by doing that, taking a quick and easy way out, we tend to repeat the same actions over and over. In other words, we create our own messes. Take time to simply recognize the moment and simply “be”. In your mindfulness journal record your feelings and then move forward. Forgiving the anger does not mean you approve of what caused it. It simply means you are moving forward and leaving it in the past. Mindfulness is of value because it allows us to live more fully, to be that which we seek to be – the very best we can be.