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Are You Mind-Full or Mindful?

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts.

 Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. 

Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… 

Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

― Shel Silverstein

Greetings to all my precious people!!

March has arrived with plenty of personality, drenching us in torrents of rain while hinting at the promise of warmer temperatures.  Daffodil stalks are peeking up from the soil, along with the tiny white snowdrops and the cup shaped crocuses, Nature’s true harbingers of Spring.  We are past the Winter incubation period and entering the season of newness, light and vitality, where hope and optimism abound. 

Hope.  Optimism.  These are my personal favorites.  According to the Oxford English Dictionary, optimism is “hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something; a tendency to take a favorable or hopeful view.” Hope is the “expectation of something desired; desire combined with expectation.”  Social psychologists see optimism as the individual’s core belief that their future will have positive experiences, and won’t have negative ones.

Personality psychologists Gene Alarcon, Nathan Bowling, and Steven Khazon provide a nice, succinct comparison that might resonate with you:  “Simply put, the optimistic person believes that somehow—either through luck, the actions of others, or one’s own actions—that his or her future will be successful and fulfilling. The hopeful person, on the other hand, believes specifically in his or her own capability for securing a successful and fulfilling future.”

Why the focus on hope and optimism?  Because these serve as the basis for how we all choose to navigate our day to day lives, whether we are aware of it or not.  And the foundation for establishing the baseline of how we interact and pay attention to the world around us has a direct correlation with how we can heal ourselves.

Pioneering psychologist Dr. Ellen Langer, PhD, professor of psychology at Harvard University, has spent over 45 years creating research that shows how our thoughts directly impact our physical and mental well-being.  Known as the “mother of mindfulness,” she writes in her latest book, The Mindful Body:  “when we recognize that rules, labels and cutoff points are made by people, there is lots of room to question how any situation could be otherwise.  We gain a newfound sense of freedom.  We expand our possibilities.  This is true of our behavior, but also of our health.  The key is to question those things we mindlessly accept, to mindfully interrogate all of the descriptions and diagnoses that can hold us back.  When we do, we can get better.  We can learn to heal ourselves.”

“Do or do not.  There is no try.”  Remember that famous line from the 1980 movie The Empire Strikes Back?  It was Yoda instructing Luke Skywalker about the ways of the Jedi, urging him to take action, rather than attempt things half-heartedly.  Ellen Langer uses this as an example for choosing action versus thinking about things.  When you are told to try, or you tell yourself to try, you implicitly acknowledge that failure is a real possibility.  But when you “just do it” you focus on the process rather than the outcome, thereby sidestepping the analysis paralysis that keeps so many of us from being present and participating.

Ellen Langer teaches that mindfulness is about engaging actively with the present moment.  Meditation is NOT mindfulness.  Instead, it is a practice you undergo in order to lead to post meditative mindfulness.  Mindfulness isn’t a practice –  it is simply a way of being – that results in you actively noticing.  Once you recognize that everything is changing, everything looks different from a different perspective, and nothing is certain, you can begin to tune in, to be more aware, and have a deeper appreciation for change. 

Now that you have more evidence that you – and your thoughts – can have a positive impact on your wellbeing, begin a daily practice of actively noticing things.   Be curious about your partner, your friends, your co-workers.  Spend some time walking around your neighborhood, noticing the shrubs, the house colors, the different types of trees that line the streets.  Practice your own version of being mindful and get excited about the possibilities of change, of shift, of healing.

“Dóchas,” (doo-kus) is the Irish word for hope, as well as the Irish word for optimism!

Dóchas is more than just a fleeting feeling; it’s a deep-seated belief in the possibility of a better tomorrow, a steadfast anchor that has guided the Irish people through centuries of challenges and change.

In the context of facing fears and enduring hardships, dóchas embodies the resilience and optimism that characterizes the human spirit.   It is a testament to our capacity to look beyond the present difficulties, to envision and work towards a future filled with promise and possibility.

Reflecting on dóchas invites us to explore our own sources of hope. What ignites that spark within us, even in the face of overwhelming odds? How do we nurture and sustain hope, not just for ourselves but also for those around us? The concept of dóchas encourages us to recognize the power of a hopeful outlook as a source of strength and motivation, driving us forward, encouraging us to persevere, and helping us to see beyond our immediate fears.

Hope, even in the most daunting circumstances, serves as a powerful reminder of the transformative power of a hopeful perspective. It is a call to embrace dóchas as a guiding principle in our lives, to actively cultivate it within ourselves and to share its light with others. In doing so, we not only enrich our own lives but also contribute to a more hopeful, resilient world.

Manifesting hope and optimism is critical to support our healing and wellness.  In order to connect to those mindful places, we usually need to push past some stories and examine the habits that might be blocking our path.  Information is available and abundant, but transformation is really what we long for.  One size does not fit all!!  If you are in need of some support as you make new choices, reach out and schedule a discovery call today.  Acupuncture is more than needles, and healing involves the whole person, of body-mind-spirit.  Let’s get curious together!!!!

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, 

because the greatest secrets are hidden in the most unlikely places. 

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” 

 Roald Dahl

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