“No-Fail” Friday: Greater good

Light wrapped in lights_Riccardo Pelati

Who’s ready to close the book on this week? We started this conversation on Wednesday, when it was barely halfway over, and at last, we’re finally here. Interesting times we live in, so the least we can do is give ourselves the joy of a hard-earned Friday. Take a minute to catch your breath, and get ready to dive into the weekend ahead – which, of course, includes a mindfulness challenge.

Don’t worry, I’ve got energy levels in mind here.  But, I will also return to my point from Wednesday that when it’s hardest to motivate for mindfulness is exactly when you need to be doing it. In the current state of world affairs, you need it, and the world needs you to be doing it.

For exactly this reason, this weekend’s challenge has you thinking bigger. So, let’s get started with creating some good vibes, and sending them out to do some work of their own:

  • Take a seat, either on the floor or in a chair that will support you comfortably for a few minutes.
  • If it works for you, close your eyes. If not, find a spot on the wall or floor in front of you that won’t do anything entertaining for a little while.
  • Find your breath, and for a few rounds of inhales and exhales, simply follow it. Focus your attention on the rise of your inhales in your chest, and the way your body relaxes a little more with each exhale.
  • After a few rounds of intentional breathing, begin to picture a bright light emanating from your chest. It may take the shape of a large ball, or a tiny raindrop. No matter the size or shape, focus on the intense brightness of the light. As you inhale and exhale, it may flicker, but it is never diminished, and never goes out.
  • As you continue breathing intentionally, imagine the rays of this light beginning to stretch out before you, reaching the objects, materials, and perhaps even other people (or furry friends) in the space immediately around you, encircling them in positivity, hopefulness, and strength as it does.
  • FYI: If it’s difficult to stay focused during this portion of the exercise, that’s ok. It’s a slightly different flavor than what we usually serve up over here. Just choose a specific object or person, and in your mind’s eye, focus on them. That may be the extent of your effort this time, and if so, that is a-ok with me.
  • If you’d like to keep going, let the light travel even further. Picture it extending beyond your current surroundings to the building as a whole, onto the street outside, through the city, and maybe even to your country, or the world as a whole. Perhaps there is a specific place you’d like to send it right now. It’s path and extent are up to you.
  • Remember that although this light may flicker, it is never truly diminished and never goes out. In fact, you may have even found that the broader you imagined your reach with the light, the stronger its power felt for you. Maybe. If it just felt weird, or challenging, that’s more than ok, too. In fact, it’s normal. This isn’t how we think on a regular basis. That’s why it’s a practice, and as you’ve heard me say, the effort is the meditation. Really, though. It is.

Like I said, I know this particular challenge is a slightly different one for us, but that’s what challenges are about, right? Try new things, get a little uncomfortable, find your breath and know you’ll be ok whether you enjoy the exercise or not. That’s always the case with mindfulness, and it the reason why our challenges are “no-fail” each and every time.

Your intention, your attention and your breath, even for just a moment or two, are enough to make a difference in your mind, your body, and – believe it or not – the world. Energy flows where intention goes. Make an effort to cultivate peace within yourself, and then turn that energy outward. Good intentions, coupled with action, can be quietly contagious. Best part is, you only get stronger for being the source.

Photo credit: Riccardo Pelati

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