What is mindfulness?

Uncategorized Mar 14, 2021

Kind of seems like a word that gets thrown around a lot in our current-day culture, right? Mindfulness. But what exactly does it even mean? And how do any of us achieve such a task...

I recently watched a lecture by Dr. Shauna Shapiro, and she points out that there are 3 necessary aspects to mindfulness:

1. Intention 2. Attention 3. Attitude

This seems so spot on to the way I view and practice mindfulness, so I thought this week I would dive deeper into this topic.

1. Intention. Anytime we set out on a (new) venture, it's important to remember 'why' we are doing said task to begin with. Decided to switch jobs? Why? Put your kids in a certain school? Why? Call your Mom or best friend everyday on your drive to work? Why? Dr. Shapiro referenced a phrase, "The most important thing is to remember the most important thing."

So often it is easy for us to get bombarded and bogged down with everything life throws at us. It can be easy to forget what we are living for or why we are even working so hard in the first place. Getting handed a life-altering diagnosis changes a lot of things and shifts one's perspective drastically. In these circumstances, someone's 'why' becomes all the more important. And it needs to be clear. 

My why? I do this because I want to provide a service to people impacted and overwhelmed by a diagnosis. Because I was there with our daughter. I work hard and keep putting myself out into the world in vulnerable situations because I want to lead by example to my children. Sometimes following God's plan is scary. But that doesn't mean we don't keep moving forward.

What is your why?

2. Attention. You have to be present. Gosh, that sounds so much easier than it actually is. We all have to put.the.phone.down. Put it down. Put the computer away. Put all the gadgets and gizmos and who's its and what's its galore, down. Listen to the person across from you. Listen to your own thoughts. Listen to your heart. Listen, please, listen for God's direction. I promise if you pay attention, it is there, waiting for you.

3. Attitude. This last one seriously hit me like a ton of bricks. Dr. Shapiro shares that she feels this is often the part of mindfulness that gets missed, and I couldn't agree more. She shared of a story about a 7 day silent meditation retreat she went on. Silent. No talking, at all. She was quite inexperienced and after about 2-3 days she was angry, frustrated and passing a lot of judgement on both herself and others in the group.

She received permission to speak to a newly-arrived monk who happen to speak English. She shared her story of discontent, the inability to sit with herself and actually meditate. The monk's response, "you are not practicing meditation; you are practicing anger, frustration, and judgment... What you practice you become."

Ugh. Gut check. What you practice, you become. I mean how easy is it to tell your 8 year old that... Practice makes perfect. If you want to get better at basketball, you have to actually play basketball. So easy externally. But internally? Recognizing that our own attitude absolutely shapes the experience and ultimately the person we become? That hit me hard. 

I would like to think I am a pleasant, ebullient person. I believe in the power of positivity. I believe in being kind and empathetic to those around me. But my attitude with myself? Man... that could use some work. My internal chatter? Not the nicest girl on the block... Even the way I talk to and treat my husband and kids needs work. (They say we take things out on those closest to us... definitely something I am working more on...) But the moral of this story is, if you are bitter, angry, mad, playing the victim, unable to accept your current reality, fighting everything and everyone about everything... What you practice, you become. 

Mindfulness is a skill. And in order to flex the mindfulness muscle, you have to have a clear intention about what you are hoping to accomplish. You have to pay attention. You have to commit and be present to the here and now. And you have to believe in what you are trying to accomplish. Your attitude matters and directly impacts your success in mindfulness. 

Strength and healing,



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