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Mantras for Mindfulness

by Mary Beth Janssen

By reciting any of the following mantras you energetically set intentions that invite revelation, manifestation, celebration and transformation into your life.

Become the ocean

Leonard Cohen mystically and magically said “If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick every day.” When we live on the surface of life, we allow our inner state to depend on outer circumstances, however erratic they may be. Navigating life in this way can be exhausting. Know that storms will continue to roll in throughout life, creating instability. When we consciously live life from our depths – the layer of our being that is pure consciousness or Spirit - we flow through life understanding that the present moment is all we have and things are happening just as they should, right here and right now.

Practice the pause

Lori Deschene brilliantly said “Practice the pause. Pause before judging. Pause before assuming. Pause before accusing. Pause whenever you’re about to react harshly and you’ll avoid doing and saying things you’ll later regret.” This is a potent and fresh take on my boomer generation’s “Count to 10,” which means slow down, calm down, take a breath, get hold of oneself. For example, before you tell someone what you think of them, count to 10, taking time to regain one's composure.

I really appreciate what the comedian Kevin Hart said after a recent near-fatal car accident: “I honestly feel like God told me to sit down.” And then there is this from my work in the trauma-informed yoga world – feeling the need to be busy all the time is a trauma response and fear-based distraction from what you’d be forced to acknowledge and feel if you slowed down. Acknowledging, feeling and then letting go is a very healing process.

So yes, by all means practice the pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, commune with your ever-present source of wisdom, your intuitive Self for any revelation that may guide you in making the most life affirming choices that honor your higher good.

Plant a seed

Having grown up on an organic farm and today, as an avid gardener, I liken life to our backyard plot. Each season, we plant seeds. As life begins and continues to fruitfully grow, I tend to the weeding, fertilizing, watering and harvesting the delicious and nourishing bounty. With great thankfulness, we use the mature plants to nourish our body, decorate our home, heal ourselves. The energy and information from the plants become the energy and information of our mindbody physiology. 

Tend to your inner garden

Plant the seeds of hope and dreams, relationships and experiences; weed out the beliefs and emotions that hinder prolific and fruitful growth; and enjoy the delectable harvest. Your metaphoric garden is an ongoing journey through life – filled with grace, humility, compassion, lovingkindness, acceptance, forgiveness and more. Be patient with this entire process. No lasting change happens overnight. Start small and let it grow organically. Meditate right now on what you would like to plant for your life in the coming year and the coming decade.

Surf those waves

 Mindfulness expert Jon Kabat Zinn said, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” Our mind is like the surface of a lake or ocean. Waves are constantly being churned up by the winds of stress and change in our lives. This can cause a great deal of agitation and anxiety in our mind if we let it. We can’t always be in control. And quite frankly, I’ve come to learn that I cannot stress out about or base my happiness on that which is out of my control. One of our biggest challenges may be surrendering to our control dramas, our limitations or simply, to what is. 

Stop fighting the turbulence in your mind and start surfing those waves. Acceptance is a practice that can become a great source of flow in our lives. It is key to a peaceful existence. Let it be. A consistent mindfulness practice is the key to witnessing turbulent thoughts, while not drowning in them. Compassionately and nonjudgmentally watch your thoughts come and go without getting caught up in them. Send yourself unconditional lovingkindness as you do.

Heal those wounds

Every one of us is walking wounded to some degree. We’ve all experienced shocks and traumas and tragedies in our lives, and will continue to do so. It’s been said that to heal a wound, you’ve got to stop touching it. I agree with this to a point. If you’ve “stuffed” the feelings attached to your wound(s), they will no doubt come back to haunt you again and again. It’s necessary to sit with the feelings that these wounds have created, instead of pushing them away. Only then can we effectively release them. 

I teach a powerful emotional release technique through the Chopra Center for Well-Being and have written about it here.

I encourage you to think of a past grievance to forgive, a hangup to let go of, or a traumatic event to work on accepting. And remember, when it comes to forgiveness, it’s not about the other person, it actually sets you free from the self-imposed bondage of hurt and pain.

Drop Those Burdens

Toni Morrison famously said, “You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” What “should haves,” “would haves,” “if onlys” are you carrying around with you, weighing you down? Notice what you’re hanging onto that has outlived its usefulness. What’s keeping you stuck? Where are you holding resentment toward yourself or others?  What identities or ambitions have you been knowingly or unknowingly carrying around with you. 

Which of these are holding you back or causing you pain? You can think of one that no longer serves its purpose and drop it. Or you can go for the gamut - letting all your worries, sadness, anger, old hurts and doubts surface in your mind. Imagine them as a muddy stream flowing out of you as you breathe. Let them go. There are many layers to let go of, like peeling an onion – so for right now let go of what you are able to. Just let them go. Visualize them gently leaving or changing to promote your new reality - opening space for fresh and exciting new relationships and experiences to come into your life. Be grateful for any lessons that these feelings and experiences from your past have taught you. I like to call them “blessons.” Blessings and lessons! All part of our growth as we enter this new auspicious decade.

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