Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, seeing, touching, smelling and feeling emotionally and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Being mindful means observing all of life as it unfolds in the present, separate from our thoughts. Living mindfully means experiencing “now”, “this moment” and not missing it. When we live mindfully we realize the past is gone and never coming back and the future is something that hasn’t arrived yet and may never arrive. NOW is the ONLY time we are actually alive.

When we are not mindful, we may be only partially aware of what is actually occurring in the present moment. We miss life and all its many wonders, joys, sorrows and mysteries as they unfold all around us.

A poem on a mindful life by Mary Oliver

“Mindful” by Mary Oliver

Every day
     I see or hear
                   that more or less
Kills me
      with delight,
           that leaves me
                  like a needle
in the haystack
    of light.
          It was what I was born for –
              to look, to listen,
to lose myself
     inside this soft world –
           to instruct myself
                over and over
in joy,
     and acclamation.
          Nor am I talking
               about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
     the very extravagant –
           but of the ordinary,
                the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.
     Oh, good scholar,
          I say to myself,
                 how can you help
but grow wise
     with such teachings
          as these –
               the untrimmable light
of the world,
     the ocean’s shine,
           the prayers that are made
                 out of grass?

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