When I first began on my path of healing as a Witch, I have heard about mindfulness and the art of doing something mindfully. I was young the first time I heard this and I wasn’t quite sure of what it really meant to do something mindfully. I didn’t have the internet for quick access to the definition and no one who used the term could actually explain it well enough for me to understand and for many years I looked up different definitions and contemplated on how to do things mindfully and what the purpose of doing something mindfully really was.
It wasn’t until recently that I actually fully understood what it meant to do something mindfully and therefore only recently did I really have my “Ah Ha” moment.
I have been learning how to really ground myself during a PTSD moment. I found that certain crafts help me to focus on the present moment and to stop being so focused on what stresses me out so much. Instead of reliving the past over and over again in my mind or being caught up in the worries of the unknown future, I realized that when I work on complex tasks such as beading or crochet, I have to do it mindfully.
Being mindful is actually focusing completely in the present on a specific task while being aware of what I am currently experiencing. Sensations in my body such as my feet falling asleep would be something here in the present that I would be aware of keeping my mind in the present as I focus on the task. Realizing that I need a break because I am feeling mentally or physically fatigued is also something to aware of in the present.
It is difficult to do tasks mindfully at first. I realized why I enjoy crafting so much. When I am feeling like I can’t escape feeling depressed or anxious and I can’t seem to escape a specific thought pattern such as reliving a painful moment that is not happening in the present moment, I can use a task to bring myself back to the present by doing it mindfully.
It doesn’t matter if you have PTSD or not. We all get caught up in things that are not happening at the moment. The fear of being homeless in the future or fear of failure that hasn’t happened yet are both not happening at the moment so it isn’t actually a reality. Being caught up in memories that are good or bad can create an obstacle toward achieving a goal or manifesting a desire.
The purpose of mindfulness is to practice being in the present moment. It is experiencing the moment and its events that are happening right now. One problem that many people have is being mindfully present in what is happening. It could be a special date with a significant other or a nice moment with a special loved one and we can be so distracted by what happened two hours ago at work or with a family member that we are not really enjoying the moment that otherwise could be one of the most magical moments of our lives.
We can practice mindfulness by doing complex hobbies that require our attention. I realized while beading today that if I try to have a conversation and bead at the same time, I will most certainly screw up. Because I am not fully paying attention to what I am doing, I am sure to make mistakes.
It is an exercise for the mind to be in control. To be aware of what we are feeling and experiencing without actually judging those feelings is a benefit as well. The whole purpose of doing things mindfully is to keep us grounded in the present moment and not in the past which has already happened or the future which has yet to happen and is unknown.
One of the biggest things that hold us back is not being in the here and now. I have noticed when I haven’t done something that requires my full attention and I am focused on the past or future for too long, I begin to feel anxious, depressed and I even develop writer’s block. For a writer that can be very bad because it will keep me from achieving my goals.
I use these tasks to practice mindfulness as a form of meditation. I can work on projects that can be done in one evening or I can work on something that I can finish over a long time by doing only parts of it at a time. I actually have a cross stitch project that I work on here and there. It will likely take me a long time to finish it because it is a large project and it requires a lot of focus.
I do little things like I did today such as beading something simple or even complex but can be done in one day. I didn’t really understand why crafting was so therapeutic for me until today when I realized that the reason it helps is that it keeps me grounded in the present moment. It is an exercise for the mind.
Just like the body, the mind also needs exercise. With the Mind, body, and spirit working together as a team, it is important to keep every member of the team in as good of shape as possible. I still struggle with my body but if I strengthen my mind and my spirit, I will find the motivation to continue to work on my physical health.
Just like physical health, the spirit (emotional) member and the mind (intellectual) member much also be healthy as well. Part of being a witch is doing what we need to be healthy. Yes, sometimes we need to get a little help from others but essentially, it is up to us.
As you walk down your path, I encourage you to challenge yourself with practicing the art of mindfulness.