What a Year of Mindfulness Taught Me

Since practicing mindfulness, I’ve discovered: The difference between “want to” and “have to.” Living more simply. Staying focused. My own relationship with productivity. How to follow my true passions. A better writing system and routine. Peace.
 

At the start of each year, I enjoy choosing a word to represent that year. I like to think it gives me focus and direction for the year. Plus, it helps me pick and choose which goals are most important to me that year. This year, 2017, my word is “Passion,” but that’s not what I want to talk about in this post. Instead, I want to share with you what happened when I chose the word “Mindfulness” to represent my 2016 because I had no idea a single word would end up teaching me so much or changing the way I lived for good.

 

What is Mindfulness?

I think Psychology Today sums up mindfulness perfectly:

“Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

I used to be someone who was always so busy looking ahead, I’d trip over the cracks in the sidewalk or step into a mud puddle because I had to forgotten to look at where I was actually walking.

Looking ahead is important when it comes to setting and achieving goals, but not at the expense of missing out on the now—the journey, which is why I chose mindfulness as my word of the year in the first place. I needed to learn how to be aware of the present.

What Mindfulness Has Taught Me

Since practicing mindfulness, I’ve discovered:

  1. The difference between “want to” and “have to.”
  2. Living more simply.
  3. Staying focused.
  4. My own relationship with productivity.
  5. How to follow my true passions.
  6. A better writing system and routine.
  7. Peace.

 

Most importantly, mindfulness has taught me how to focus on the WHY.

  • Why am I doing this?
  • Why am I not?
  • Why now?
  • Why here?

 

Why helps me make clear and purposeful decisions. (<<< Tweet that!)

 

How?

First, I start with the activity + the first WHY: Why do I want to write this novel?

Second, after I answer the first WHY, I ask myself WHY again and again and again:

  • Why do I want to write this novel?
    • Because I think the story is interesting and I think readers will find it interesting too.
      • WHY?
        • Well..because the main character is X and is facing X.
          • WHY?
            • Because ...
              • WHY?

 

I could keep going, but I think you get the gist of it. Every time I answer WHY, I ask WHY again because I need to push my mind, my soul, and my heart into thinking clearer about my actions. 

 

I ask WHY because I need to push my mind, my soul, and my heart into thinking clearer about my actions. (<<< click to Tweet!)

 

Mindfulness, One Year Later

Of course, the biggest impact mindfulness had on my life last year was the decision to leave my side business and focus on my true passion: writing. Seeing as my word for this year is passion, you could also say it is thanks to mindfulness that I have direction and clarity as I start 2017.

If it wasn’t for mindfulness, you wouldn’t be reading this post (and that’s not just because mindfulness is the subject!). I didn’t plan or expect to blog on this site when I re-branded it last year. I thought I would only focus on writing fiction, but through mindfulness and journaling, I realized I miss blogging. I enjoy writing nonfiction as much as fiction, and I love being able to give more to my readers. I can’t write a book a week, but I can create a new blog post each week :)

 

Do you know why you do the things you do? Is there any purpose behind your actions and choices? If not, I challenge you to incorporate your own mindfulness practice this year, and I can’t wait to hear what mindfulness teaches you!