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“Stop talking, stop thinking, and there is nothing you will not understand.” 

Seng-Ts’an

Spring is here.  Time to awaken your awareness.  Zen Buddhist teachings refer to spring as the metaphor for awakening.  Awakening is like a rebirth.  A naked awareness.  A sudden ability to see so much more.  What’s new, what’s different, what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling.  

Awareness.  A single word definition of mindfulness.

What better month than April and spring to experience this. We can’t help but be aware.  And if we choose to slow down and become more focused, nature can remind us of the importance of being aware of not only what’s going on in the world around us, but also inside us. 

With the progressive warmth of each day, a new tree buds, another flower blooms, instant messaging us to look for the new in each moment.  Heady scents like jasmine and orange blossoms perfume the air, reconnecting us to our breath.  The increased volume of bird chatter, calls and song sooth our souls, tweeting the importance of deep listening.  Soft spring breezes caress our skin, like a gentle nudge to remind us of the need to use compassion.  

When we connect to our senses we come to our senses.

IMG_1381Only when we are aware, can we experience the sights, sounds, and scents of spring and the joy it brings.  Only when we are aware and present to the reality of our daily life can we experience the joy in just being and the acceptance and gratitude for what is.   

Mindfulness develops emotional intelligence.

As we continue to cultivate mindfulness through practice and time, we are able to see with the eyes of a beginner and develop the skill of being aware in a nonjudgmental way.  To observe experiences as they unfold without the usual commentary of assessing  or comparing.  We suspend judgment so we can discern whether our words or actions would cause harm or be of benefit.  We make wiser decisions, listen more, and act with developed compassion.

IMG_1367In last month’s blog I wrote with resignation that the wild mountain lilacs had failed to bloom this year, probably due to the dry winter.  Well, a couple good rains later after I wrote it, I spied – in disbelief – a lone bush blossoming, like royal purple majesty.  I gasped as it stopped me in my tracks.  And now, in late April, there are many purple bushes freckling the distant mountainside.  It took a couple good rains, but suddenly they were alive.  I had so easily given up on them.  I was aware, but caught up in assessing and comparing and too quick in my judgment.  Another lesson for me. And also a reminder to have patience and faith, and to be flexible with my own schedule. In nature, the strong survive, even with minimal nourishment, and they bloom on their own time, when conditions are right.  Nature can be predictable, but also unpredictable.  And so can we.  This month I’m focusing on keeping an open-minded awareness of the life around me and within me as I feed the thoughts of what hopes I wish to manifest and trust that like nature, when and if  time and conditions are right, they will bloom.P1090730

 

For more tips on cultivating awareness, read the April chapter of “Twelve Mindful Months:  Cultivating a Balanced & Fit Body, Mind & Spirit” by Carol Tibbetts.  Stay on the mindful path with me by signing up to get future blog posts delivered directly to your inbox.