I heard or read a metaphor once that likened mindfulness to wearing shoes over rough ground. You can't cover the whole earth and make it smooth and easy to walk. There are almost certainly spots that your bare feet won't be able to take. The choice becomes, stay limited in where you can walk. Only go to the safe, smooth parts. Or, put your shoes on and go anywhere you want. Have an adventure while you're at it.
That's what mindfulness is like. Our spiritual practice covers your metaphorical feet, so that we can go anywhere, face anything, be with anyone and be okay.
That kind of mindfulness practice gives us three things:
- A preservation of our tenderness
- The protection of our agility
- A platform from which we can leap
A preservation of our tenderness...
Wearing the "shoes of mindfulness" preserves the parts of us that need to stay pliable. Our tenderness is an incredible asset. It lets us see the truth. It opens our hearts to those who don't often feel love. It increases our ability to let love in and out.
Our rigidity is not safe. Our tenderness, our ability to say I'm so sorry or I see the real you through this madness and it's okay or Let's just sit together for awhile, yeah? is what ultimately heals the brokenness.
If we can maintain our own tenderness, we allow others to find theirs. Or, at the very least, we give other humans a chance to resist going on the defense. There's no point. Because they see we are soft with love.
If you've ever tried this, in real time in a real difficult situation, then you know it's so worth it.
The protection of our agility...
Why do we want to be agile? Because life moves at a million miles a minute. Wearing our mindfulness around allows us to flow through the unpredictability of life. Not only that, it gives us more choices.
When we are caught in the mud of our habitual patterns, our learned childhood behavior or our outright judgments, we have very narrow choices. With a spiritual, mindful practice, we're given a broader view. New, healthier responses come up. We don't have to stay in the lane. We can swerve out and choose an option we had never seen before.
The ability to stay agile is the groundwork for inner hope.
A platform from which we can leap...
Having a sort of mindful springboard wrapped around us means we can take more chances. We can take the leaps. We can free fall and figure it out on the way down.
The hardest part of change isn't the change itself. It's the getting there. But when we drop into presence, meditate and practice the mindfulness principles we want to live by, we realize that there's nothing we need to fix. There's nothing we need to change. There's no place to get to. So change can happen as soon as we want it.
A mindful inner movement means we are already standing on the precipice.
We are always at our edge.
We are always poised to fly.
Want a little more? Try my 3-part podcast called Rise Up: Defining & Doing Your Greatest Work.