On some level, many of us are healing from perfectionism, but with mindfulness we can learn to embrace our flaws. Cheryl Jones, founder of The Mindful Path, shares a guided practice to be with ourselves as we are.
Mindfulness meditation involves a willingness to be with ourselves as we are. I like to think of mindfulness as a way of learning to work with ourselves, and not on ourselves. If you’re like me, then you probably know that cutting yourself a break is good for your well-being, and on some level, many of us are healing from perfectionism. Engaging in a mindfulness practice, we can begin to develop present moment awareness of the breath, thoughts, feelings, sensations and surroundings. We can start to notice whatever is happening within us and around us with curiosity and kindness.
A 15-Minute Meditation to Be As You Are
- Find your way to an upright and dignified posture. Close your eyes or lower your eyes in a soft gaze. Place your feet on the ground and relax your arms at your sides. Rest your hands in your lap. Draw your shoulder blades subtly toward each other, allowing the chin to be parallel with the floor. Lift the crown of your head toward the sky. Perhaps soften the belly and the jaw.
- Notice what it feels like to stop. Notice what it feels like to be sitting in this purposeful posture in this moment, in this space. And perhaps now take a moment to welcome yourself to your practice, acknowledging your willingness to be here for yourself in this way.
- Notice that you are breathing. There’s no need to change or manipulate the breath in any way. Allow the breath to be just as it is right here, right now. Simply follow the breath in and follow the breath out.
- Notice where you feel the sensations of the breath. Perhaps you’re aware of the air moving in and out at the nostrils and the upper lip. You could possibly be sensing the gentle expanding and contracting of the chest and ribs. Maybe you feel the abdomen rising and sinking. Allow your attention to rest on the sensations of the breath as it flows in and out of the body.
- As you’re sitting here with the attention on the breath, you may notice thoughts going through the mind. There’s no need to block thoughts out. Rather, see if it is possible to allow thoughts to pass through the mind one by one. Let go of any need to label thoughts as positive or negative. Good or bad. Find a neutral way to be with your thoughts. See if it’s possible to be aware of thoughts without grasping or clinging to any one thought. And also without rejecting or denying any particular thought.
- Shift your attention now to any feelings that may be present in this moment. Breathing in and breathing out. Acknowledge any feeling just as it is. Sometimes we have feelings about our feelings. We may feel that one feeling is OK or acceptable while another is not. All feelings are acceptable.
- Now, bring your awareness to sensations within the body. Warmth. Coolness. Tingling. Tightness. Pulsation. Relaxation. Hunger. Fullness. Notice what’s happening within the body in this moment. Do this with patience and kindness. Explore sensations both strong and subtle with curiosity.
- As you breathe in and breathe out, notice if your posture has shifted. And then make any adjustments, if you’d like. Allow yourself to tune in to the body just as it is.
- Center your attention on only the breath now. And as we near the end of this practice, follow three more full cycles of breathing. Be as present as possible for each one. Remember this place of awareness is always available to you because it’s within you.
- As you feel ready, allow your eyes to open gently if they were closed. Get reacquainted with your surroundings and prepare to reengage with the day. Perhaps set an intention to bring awareness to all that you do and into each interaction.