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Monday, April 25, 2016

Be Mindful

"Be Mindful"

While at our annual Creative Circle Ambassador retreat this year, we were given a bracelet with the words "Be Mindful" stamped in it.  I didn't think much of it at the time it was given, but I did appreciate the bracelet.  Above every doorway in the Cousin building was a poster that had the same words, but had no clue as to what they meant.  We had not given an explanation as to the meaning of this phrase when we were given the bracelets. At first, I found it rather odd, however, I think we were to interpret the words for what they meant to us. I began to think about the phrase "Be Mindful" throughout the day and into the evening.  The next morning right after my devotional time, I began to pen out what those words were resounding in my spirit. So here is what those two words spoke to me.

What does "Be Mindful" mean?  I have heard these words throughout my life in one form or another I am sure as we all have. "Mind your P's and Q's", "Think before you act" those sorts of things. But what does it actually mean?  In what context are these words used? How can I apply their meaning?

Be Mindful:
of others
of my attitude
of my words
of my actions
of my surroundings
of myself
of the moments

Of Others:
As I am mindful of others, I take second place. I can lay aside selfish ambition for a great good - the good of others. It is not a detachment from my "reality" but rather an involvement in the reality of others.  It is loving my neighbor as myself. It allows me to see the truth behind the motives of others and observe the true nature of their heart without a preconceived judgement on my part.  It is to put myself in the other person's shoes and see from their perspective and not my own.  It is to give grace, compassion, and mercy to others as it has been given to me.  Being mindful of others re-centers us to a higher focus and a greater good. This one thing affects all the rest - attitude, actions, words, surroundings, ourselves and the moments.

Of My Attitude:
I have often heard it said, "your attitude determines your altitude". As I am mindful of my attitude, I can keep myself humble. It is with a lowly heart and a gentle spirit that I can see more clearly that which is more important than me. Sometimes, a little adjustment can bring a great increase.  If I choose to take the higher ground instead of allowing my emotions and nasty attitude to take over, then I am the victor, not the victim. I can choose to fly free or to remain in bondage by my own attitude towards situations or people.  I refuse to allow myself to be a slave even to my own selfish desires and motives. How I react to or act on a certain situation reflects the deeper nature of my own heart.  If my attitude remains neutral or one of love, then my heart is pure.  If my attitude stinks, then the truth of my heart is revealed as tainted by my own selfish desires.

Of My Words:
We have heard it said, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me."  This statement cannot be more wrong.  Our words penetrate and wound deeper than any mere stick or stone ever could.  The power of life and death is held within our tongues. Our words have the power to heal and uplift or they can be instruments of hurt and offense.  Things we may say thinking nothing of them may hurt others.  As I am mindful of my words, I can speak life instead of death, grace instead of judgement, comfort instead of pain.  I choose not to speak corrupt communication so that the hearer of my words can be uplifted and encouraged and not made to feel less.  When we speak our opinions about something or someone we know nothing about, then we are revealing the true attitude of our hearts.  If we criticize that which we don't understand, then we reveal our own ignorance.

Of My Actions:
The old saying, "Actions speak louder than words" holds true.  If I betray my words with my actions, then I have made myself a liar.  If I say I love yet my actions show the truth of my hate, I have revealed the truth of what lies in my heart.  I have proven myself to be double-minded in full view of the world. If I say I respect my boss but behind his back talk about him and run him down, then I am proving by my actions that really hate him by my words.  Our actions will reveal our hearts and motives when our words never will.  I can show that I am a true friend by my actions when my words may fail.  I chose to "be mindful" of my actions so I will not betray my words.

Of My Surroundings:
This one is rather tricky.  If I keep my focus on the here and now, then I will miss the coming soon.  If I focus on the coming soon, then I miss the here and now.  It is like Yin and Yang, a give and take, a push and pull. There has to be a balance to it or we will get off focus and miss the beauty of it all. As I am mindful of my surroundings, I can both act and speak accordingly. If I am oblivious to what is going on around me, I am opening the door for failure, harm, and missed opportunities.  I must see the world around me and purpose to be a partaker of the grander scheme of things. I must play my part on the stage of life until my scene is done. I cannot do this if my head is stuck in the sand or up in the clouds.  I must see life from both perspectives of heaven and earth. I must see from heaven to help a hurting world. I must be able to see from earth the pain of my fellow man.  If I see from a heavenly perspective, then I gain the knowledge to be the help to a hurting world.

Of the Moments:
There is a saying that life isn't measured in the moments, but in the moments that take our breath away. Even though this statement rings with truth, when we are mindful of even the smallest of moments we become aware of growth potential.  As I am mindful of the moments, I become (sometimes painfully) aware of the stretching of myself and give myself permission to venture out of my little small box and experience the more. As we shift our focus to be mindful of the moments, we see those defining ones that change our perspective and alter the course of history.  It is in the moments that life is truly lived.  I love this quote by Dr. Seuss, "Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory".

Of Myself:
This almost seems to contradict the very first "be mindful of", however, it is a needful thing. As a wife and mother, my family comes before my own needs.  However, if I neglect myself I cannot be the caregiver my family needs.  If I neglect my own health and well-being for the benefit of others, I will crash and burn resulting in me not being able to help others.  I cannot put others first, mind my attitude, actions, and my surroundings if I myself am not in a good place. When the day is done and gone, I have to take an inventory of my own self to see what I need so that I can face the next day ready for what may come.

I hope you take these words and interpret the meaning they have for you and apply them to your own life.  Always "be mindful".