Mindful Reflection Doesn’t Have To Solve A Problem

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Are you an animal lover? I am as you may have guessed by now and I have a furry cardio buddy. Studies show that those of us who exercise with our dogs actually exercise more often than those who don’t have dogs. (Sorry, cat people, but cats don’t willingly walk or run with you.) Almost 6 years ago, we got Thing Two from a rescue group. He, along with 12 other dogs, had been released from a commercial breeder just before the holiday season. Commercial breeder is code for puppy mill if you weren’t aware.

They were released because they were too old to make good holiday presents. Everyone wants the cute cuddly puppies, not the mischievous 9 month olds. Since they weren’t worth anything to the breeder, they were given to a shelter who called the rescue group. Thing Two spent all of his puppy life in a small cage and was terrified of everyone and everything. He had never walked outside or enjoyed most things that dogs do.

Thankfully he came to our house and it’s been a long road to show him that he’s finally loved. He hates people with baseball caps and doesn’t like cages or crates. Even after all this time, he still won’t take a treat from my hand. I have to put it on the ground for him. Occasionally it’s as if he forgets and will rush to greet me when I come home and then run off after he realizes what he’s done. 😉

Thing Two in the GrassWe take daily walks and every now and then he stops to lie in the grass and just rub his face in it. It’s a simple thing but he looks so happy to be out enjoying the sun, the breeze, and the feel of the grass on his face. There are no expectations, no bad memories of the past. He’s not in a hurry. He’s just enjoying the moment for what it is.

We should all take a lesson from Thing Two and appreciate the small things like blowing grass on a hot summer day. Did you find room for gratitude last week on your Even Happier Quest? I’ve spent some time each day focusing on the little things to be grateful for. It’s been nice to appreciate them for what they are.

To continue with the August task to Contemplate a Higher Power, I’m focusing on mindfulness this week. The definition of mindfulness is to be actively aware or purposely attentive to something. I’ve set a goal to spend 10 minutes each day being mindful or reflective.

Life has been so busy lately that I haven’t had a moment to just sit with my thoughts. I figured life won’t change, but I can make a point to work in 10 minutes to just breathe and sit to de-stress. In these 10 minutes, I’m promising myself that I won’t try to solve my problems or review options. These aren’t minutes to resolve anything.

I’m just going to relax and envision something that makes me smile. These are minutes to take a break from everything and be mindful of what I’m grateful for. The time of day may be different, but I’m going to find 10 minutes every day to do this. I have to admit the first try didn’t go as planned. I lay down for 10 minutes and focused on happiness and breathing deeply.

I feel asleep halfway into it. Would you call that a success or not? I guess it depends on how you look at it. I definitely relaxed, maybe not so much next time. Try to find 10 minutes each day at a time that works for you. It can be early morning before the sun even comes up, or a break at lunchtime before you head back to your desk. Think about the little things that make you smile and just enjoy the short time.

If you don’t have 10 minutes, start with 5. If you’ve got more time on your hands, do 15 or more! What does your happy place look like? Mine is a beach, under an umbrella with the sound of the waves and a salty breeze.

PS – For those of you just joining in, the Even Happier Project is based on a book I’m reading this year called The Happiness Project. Each Monday’s post during 2012 is based on the monthly task outlined in the book. Feel free to join in and add your own spin on the tasks. I’d love to hear how you apply it in your life.

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