Or, perhaps you’ve found yourself out hiking on a trail, where you’re feeling mentally done with the trail—you’re so over it. The trail feels like an endless stretch before you, and you’re wanting it to be over—NOW…5 MILES AGO…LAST WEEK!
Can you relate to either of these situations?
In the second scenario, it’s like we want access to a “fast forward” button, so we don’t have to experience any unpleasantness or discomfort along the way.
On some level, we may be able to relate to both scenarios.
Naturally, being here at the Grand Canyon, and across our national parks, we talk mostly of the outer landscape, but what consideration and care do we afford to our inner landscape?
Here’s where a mindfulness practice has a lot to offer us.
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” The key part of his statement, along with a lot of practice, is its non-judgmental component.
Let’s use the following situation, and mental thought patterns, to represent how a mindfulness practice can help us connect with increased presence and greater compassion for our inner lives—whether we’re out on a trail at the Grand Canyon (or elsewhere), and as a practice for life.
The situation: Hiking uphill, no shade, hot temperatures—essentially, discomfort.
Mental thoughts: Your mind begins its restless pursuit to the tune of, “Get me out of here” or “I’m so ready to be done with this hike.”
Normalize the emotions you’re facing; be gentle with yourself when life feels hard.
Remember that your emotions are temporary.
What are you ready to release, or let go of, in this moment?
Pause, connect with your breath, tune into one of your 5 senses.
Is there something you feel grateful for in this moment?
Incorporating a mindfulness practice, whether on a trail, a drive, or on your own personal ride through life, can help us to reconnect with greater presence and more compassion, for both our inner experience of life as well as our outer experience of the world.
Article Written By: Alicia Brill