With Independence Day approaching, it’s nice to take a Mindful Pause to reflect of all we have to be grateful for! You might already know that the 4th of July is a holiday to celebrate our country’s independence- but what does independence really mean anyhow? Independence means that we are in charge of ourselves as a country and as a people. That’s why we do things like vote when we’re grown ups- so that we can help choose what happens around us.
Mindfulness is a lot like independence because it helps us choose how we want to act in the world around us too. As we’ve learned in past lessons, when we are Mindful, we are able to Pause and reflect on our options. This ability gives us the freedom to act in a way that best serves us and others, instead of choosing something out of anger or impatience for example. So good job Mindful ones, you are cultivating (or growing) your own independence every time that you practice!
Today we’re going to practice taking a Mindful Pause for Gratitude. The topic of our Gratitude today is Independence. You may choose to focus on Independence relating to the 4th of July, since that is coming up (or already happened depending on when you read this), or maybe Independence relating to something else completely. Notice what naturally comes up in your practice.
Begin by closing your eyes. Connect to your breath by paying attention to your in-breath and your out-breath. Take five deep rounds of breath, bringing the in-breath all the way down into your belly, and drawing your belly back toward your spine on the out-breath. At the end of your fifth out-breath, keep your eyes closed and slowly bring one hand on top of the other onto your heart. Move your in-breath and your out-breath to the space of your heart now. Feel your heart grow big and full on the in-breath, and soften your heart on the out-breath. Take three more rounds like this.
Once you have connected your breath to your heart, begin to connect your mind to your hearth. Start to notice what about your independence, your freedom to choose, you are grateful for in this moment. Notice whatever comes up. It can be big or small. Maybe it is being able to go to school and learn, or maybe it is something like being able to choose what you eat for dinner once a week. Once you notice what you are grateful for, begin to breathe into that feeling. Hold that gratitude for your independence in your heart. Fill it up on your in-breath, and take it in to your heart on your out-breath. Take five more rounds like this, all the while holding that gratitude in your heart space.
When your finish your last out-breath, keep your eyes closed and just notice how your feel. How does your body feel? How does your breath feel? How does your mind feel? Maybe even turn the corners of your mouth up to the sky… and gently open your eyes when you are ready.