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The Lighter Side of Mindfulness:7 Simple Practices to Expand Awareness and Fulfillment

According to a 2014 article in Time magazine, mindfulness meditation is becoming popular among people who would not normally consider meditation.  Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, defines mindfulness as “moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness.”

Yet, meditation or other formal practices are not the only reliable pathways to fulfillment.  We can also use life as it is occurring to expand self-awareness.

Use the 7 Simple Practices to Expand Awareness and Fulfillment to discover everyday practices to generate the benefits mindfulness.  Set your intention to become more aware of what you think, feel and do.  Pay attention.  Make choices based on present moment awareness.  Observe and gently put in the correction.

  1. “Kindle Kindness” – develop light-hearted self-talk that encourages rather than berates.
  2. “Embrace Ambiguity” – shift from concern with the unknown to laughter in the face of it.
  3. “Ask, Don’t Tell” – offer support rather than advice to be more present in interpersonal relationships. Inquire about the other person’s needs, ideas and heart’s desires.  Reserve your opinions for those who ask for them.
  4. “Mind Your Body” expands awareness of messages of hunger, thirst, fatigue, stress, tension, disease and fine-tune your ability to listen to other physical messages. Simple awareness practices can open the door for change:
  • An athlete who pays attention to signals from her body that it’s time to take a water break.
  • A man who learns to recognize when he is eating beyond the point of being hungry.
  • An office work who notices the need to stand more at work.
  1. “Hit the Snooze Alarm” – a practice of intentionally suspending judgment and postponing decision-making until one can see things more clearly.
  2. “Predict the Future” – use awareness of what you already know about a person, event, place or thing to help anticipate the likely outcome. If a friend is late most of the time, assume that she will be late again and circumvent the stress!
  3. “Befriend NO!” – a valuable discernment technique to take a stand for your well-being by appropriately asserting your “no” clearly, loudly, and with conviction.

Billie Frances of Guiding Mindful Change is a Master Coach, Trainer, and Speaker. Learn more at guidingmindfulchange.com

Mindful Coaching – A Process of Personal Fulfillment

MY STORY

“That’s it!” I thought as I waited in my car for a light to change.  The guest on a radio interview program had just described how she taught and counseled people in ways that empowered them. And in that moment in 1986, I knew I was to become a Marriage and Family Therapist.

I didn’t have any idea what it took to enroll in the master’s program, how much time and money I needed to complete the training process, or how to market and manage a private practice.   Nor did I understand how this new possibility and my work history would allow me to recapture my lifetime desire to teach.  (I had already gathered enough business cards from varying enterprises to create a wall-sized collage without fulfilling this intention.)  All this would be revealed later.  That day in my car, I made up my mind, “I’m going for it!”

Early Disappointments

My enthusiasm was met with discouragement.  “Therapists are a dime a dozen,” Tom said.  “There’s one on every corner,” Hester said.  There were other personal and professional setbacks too.  I had to repeat a course, which delayed my graduation a full year. There was a divorce fraught by betrayal and several failed attempts at the state licensing exam. My finances diminished after I traded home ownership for an education.

But my desire to use my talents to reveal wholeness within myself and others proved stronger than these disappointments, failures, and financial insecurities.  I stopped trying to figure out what the examiners wanted and gave them what I had.  I stood by my authentic passion and released the outcome.  Finally, a miracle occurred.  I received my Marriage and Family Therapist license in 1993.

My career in counseling provided the opportunity to support individuals, couples, and group members and gave me an opportunity to teach.  Surrender had led me back to my passion.  I created and facilitated couples’ communication courses and weight management seminars and taught classes on financial freedom, time management, and spiritual counseling.

Success

In 1996 I received training in personal coaching and four years later began teaching Mindful Coach Certification for therapists, health care providers, teachers and others who wanted to add the skills and methods of coaching to their profession.  Creating and facilitating Mindful Coach Certification has delighted my heart and blessed my life.

Mindful Coaching is founded on the premise that beyond talent, opportunity, or perseverance we are inspired by a deep passion and commitment.  The purpose of mindful coaching is fulfillment.  The vision is to develop a greater awareness of wholeness as the foundation of all change.

Mindful Coaching is a process that encourages acceptance and guides exploration.  It’s questions, invite us to be aware of our values, thoughts, and feelings as well as our circumstances and surroundings.  Working with a coach and learning to be our own coach promotes change that is powerful and empowering.

In 2000, 14 years after hearing the radio interview that changed my life, I was approached to co-host It’s Your Call, a radio talk show in which callers receive coaching on the air.  The show is dedicated to helping people connect with their dreams and take action to manifest their deepest desires.  I had come full circle.

In service to my clients, students, callers, and myself, I have come to understand that to teach is to empower.