6 Steps To Live A More Mindful Life

Posted by Gaby Cano Apr 27, 2019

6 Steps To Live A More Mindful Life

by Gaby Cano, Reiki Master, CST, Certified Consulting Hypnotist, Psychic Medium

Recently, a client asked me how she could live more mindfully because she was tired of being on the ‘go’ all the time and feeling burned out. I thought about my answer for a moment and asked, “When you eat a meal, do you take the time to try to figure out all the ingredients of what you put in your mouth?”

I already knew the answer, so I explained to her that the majority of people today are so caught up with ‘doing life’ vs.’ living life’, that they coast through without realizing it, until one day they hit a wall, pick themselves up from the ground, look back and wonder, “What happened?”

Later that week, I attended a workshop on Zen Meditation hosted by Hae Kwang Sunim, who simplified this phenomenon further for us when he said, “Most people are addicted to thinking”, which inspired me to write this. 

How Do We Get Back to ‘Living’ vs. ‘Doing’ in Everyday Life?

1.       Prioritize

Take a sheet of paper and place a line down the middle of it, forming two columns. On the left side, write down a list of what’s really, and I mean really, important in your life, including family, leisure time, and whatever makes you feel connected, vibrant, and alive. On the right-hand column, give these a percentage corresponding to the time you spend doing each on any given day.

Now take another sheet of paper and form two columns. On the left, write a list of the activities where you’re spending your time and energy every day, including work, driving, after work/school activities, talking on the phone, gossiping, watching TV, eating, drinking, smoking, etc. On the right-hand column, allocate a percentage of the time you’re spending each day on each. Be honest. No one is going to see this but you.

Does the time invested in everyday activities match the time you spend on those activities that are really important to you? Now take a moment to think of the ‘why?’.  Is it really because those energy-draining activities are so important that you cannot possibly take time away from them, or is it more about feeding your ego? Perhaps it’s just to fill space because like junk food, energy-draining activities are easier to delve into.  

Now, before you go into an existential crisis on me, you’re not alone, and there is hope.

Next, how much time could you take away from the energy-draining activities and allocate it to those that matter more? Could you delegate some activities to others? Write it down, draw arrows if you have to. I invite you to commit to changing at least one, today.

2.       Keep It Simple, Silly

What after-school activities do your children really need to participate in? Do they have to have every night filled with an activity, or could you teach them by example that quiet time and self-care time is also healthy? Have you given family time priority? Are you teaching them to live a life of balance or to live chaotic and stressful lives? 

How many projects and responsibilities do you really need to take on at work? I hate to break it to you, but you’re not as indispensable as you may think (that’s your ego talking). The hard truth is that if you happened to get sick, you could be easily replaced, even if you’re the C.E.O. So, why not invest time in what matters most?

How much ‘stuff’ do you really need in your life? Before you buy, ask yourself if you ‘want it’ or ‘need it’. If you need it, by all means, buy it. If you want it, try to figure out which need it is filling within you. Could you fill that need with intangibles instead, or more one-on-one time with your loved ones?

I have a rule that nothing goes into my home unless something goes out, and every six months, a cleansing purge happens - anything not really needed is donated to someone who does. This helps to cleanse the energy in my sacred space, it helps others, and it is a reminder of what ‘things’ are really important in my life. 

In case you’re wondering, I’ve gone through the exercise of letting go of all material things, and as incredibly freeing as it was, you don’t have to do the same. In fact, no one does. The goal is to find balance in your everyday life and develop an awareness of what’s truly important.

3.       “Lights Out” Should Really Be, “Connections Out” 

This means, no cell phone use, no electronic devices including exercise monitors, TV, gaming, etc. after a specific time, i.e. 7 pm, during meal times, family time, activities, etc. and especially in the evening to get your body prepared for rest vs. stimulating it before bedtime. 

Being ‘present’ means focusing on what you’re doing. You cannot focus on anything while multi-tasking, and contrary to popular belief, multitasking is not a superpower. Let. It. Go.

4.       Pay Attention

Most of us go through the motions every single day. We wake up to the same alarm, get set, ready for work/school, and go!

How about trying something different? Every day, take time to go for a walk outdoors, even if it’s just five minutes at lunch. Don’t take your cell phone with you, but rather, pay attention to every nook and cranny on the ground, to the face of the people around you, to every tree, their shape, and thickness, pay attention to the sky, are there clouds or is it clear? Look around you, what does everything really look like, what colours are present, what scents are there, what can you touch, hear, feel?  Use all your senses.  Look at everything with the same attention you would have to explore the face of a new lover, notice the freckles, the wrinkles, the twinkle in their eyes, the perfect imperfection, the light shining off their hair, all of it.

When you iron, pay attention to the wrinkles on the clothes in front of you, notice the difference in size and thickness, shapes and patterns. When you take a shower, feel the water running over your skin, feel its warmth, allow it to caress you. 

When your kids are talking to you, listen - what are they really saying? When your partner opens their heart to you, are you really present for them? Are you creating a platform of safety in your relationships to build on, or are you just going through the steps and hoping for the best? 

Breathe. Be Present. Listen. Don’t talk. There’s no need to do or think, just be in the moment. Now, breathe again.

5.       Meditation 

Meditation is a great way to develop a mind-body connection and overall awareness, and the good news is that you don’t have to become a Zen monk to achieve it. 

You can start with five minutes a day and build up to at least twenty, but the key is the quality of the meditation vs. the time. As you get better at it, you’ll be able to expand the time. 

You can find plenty of free apps and YouTube videos for guided meditations that are great for beginners or you can join a class. 

The key is to learn to calm the monkey brain, and you do it by not fighting the thoughts that come into your head, but rather, allow them through. As a type “A” personality myself, I like to honour my thoughts. I thank them for the ‘reminder’ and let them flow through and out. I do it with each thought, one at a time, until no more come through. Then I focus on my breathing, expanding it with every breath, I listen to my breath, feel it, and feel my body as each muscle relaxes and my mind follows. 

It may help you to visualize a beautiful white light flowing into you from the top of your head, all the way to the tips of your toes, and as it does, it cleanses out anything that no longer serves you. You may choose to listen to music or do it with no music at all, but it does help to do it in a quiet space without interruptions at the start. Once you become a ‘Master’ at meditation, you won’t have any trouble meditating in the midst of chaos, but for now, start with baby steps.

6.       Gratitude

I welcome you to write down in a notebook everything that you’re thankful for at the end of each day, including the sunshine, the clean air, your pets, kids, partner, job, co-workers, boss, a stranger’s smile, your health, the home you live in, the chirping of a bird in the morning that woke you up because it means you’re alive; be grateful for the car you own, even if it’s seen better days, but it’s still able to help you get from one place to another; give thanks for an argument that gave you a different perspective of the person you argued with or yourself.  If you were at fault, forgive yourself, you’re human. Be grateful for the lessons. Make it a habit to give thanks at least once per week.

If you have kids, implement all of this with them, make them a family ritual, and include a sharing circle. Your kids will thank you for the rituals that you lovingly inspire in their lives, and you may be surprised at just how much you took for granted before.

Remember, when you’re present, you don’t need to fill your space, body, heart, mind or soul with external stimuli, because you begin to enjoy and savour every moment, and become aware of the meaning each was meant to have all along, and as you do, the need for ‘more’ dissipates, and as it does, you become more grateful for ‘less’, and suddenly, your awareness and appreciation turn inwards, and what a gift that becomes.

Oh, and don’t forget to smile and laugh at every opportunity you have.

May Peace, Love, Light, and Gratitude Be With You.

XO Gaby

About Gaby:

Gaby Cano, Reiki Master, Craniosacral Therapist, Certified Consulting Hypnotist, Sound Healing, Psychic Medium
​​Gaby’s mission is to help wounded warriors heal. She grew up surrounded by dysfunction and abuse, and a few years ago, faced a debilitating illness, but focused all her energy on healing and beat the odds.

 ​In 2008, after spending almost twenty years in the corporate world (marketing and communications), she transitioned into alternative healthcare, which eventually led her to energy medicine and hypnosis.
​Today, she combines her life experience, corporate background, and expertise in hypnosis, relaxation, manifestation, intuitive and energy medicine techniques, to better understand and address the needs of her clients.

 Gaby is also a passionate writer and is currently working on her second and third books, "Eulogy of A Superhero", based on her life story and "Leap of Faith", about her spiritual experiences.

You can connect with Gaby on our Member Marketplace, her profile links are on page three.

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