Mindfulness Teacher Shahara Godfrey shares her thoughts on – and a meditation exercise about – noticing transitions in our everyday lives.
By now, you have settled down in school. Summer is over and autumn has arrived. Perhaps the adjustment to a school routine has happened. And, maybe for some of you, it is still in process.
Today, I want to talk about transitions. Everyone goes through them. Without really paying attention, you have experienced a few this morning. Waking up, getting dressed, having breakfast, coming to school, dropping off your books in the hall, checking in with friends and attending Morning Meeting are just a few that come to mind.
So what is so important about transitions? They are a point of reference from one experience to another milestone in one’s life that can be quite significant and memorable. Sometimes they are really huge like moving, going to another school or graduating, and sometimes they are everyday activities like I mentioned earlier. For most of us, we remember the big events.
But, transitions happen all the time. I wonder, do we pay attention to them? What do we notice? How do we notice them and what captures our interest to be aware in the present moment? Frankly, not much does, unless you intentionally…slow down…be the observer while observing.
It probably sounds a little weird to be the observer while observing. But it is possible. Let’s begin with definitions and go from there. Observer is a noun defined as “somebody who sees or watches something; somebody who observes something that is happening as a nonparticipating witness.” When observing is a verb, it means “to be or become aware of, especially through careful and directed attention; to notice.”
The purpose of this exercise is to understand how we can watch our behavior and not be so caught up in it. We have the choice to change it when needed. We can experience our feelings, notice our thoughts, and experience them in our body yet not let them dictate our behavior.
We can practice being the noun and the verb: the observer observing. You can do this anywhere!
Begin by sitting in a mindful posture. A mindful posture is when you allow yourself to sit with your back as erect as you can, letting your eyes close. Or, if they are open, let them focus on one spot on the floor and not move. You can make your eyes as still as your body. Looking around the room is not being still; do the best you can. Making your body still and using your breath as an anchor can be very helpful. Dignity is a word that comes to mind. How do you make your body still and sit with dignity?
Take three mindful breaths.
Now, imagine a recent transition – for example, waking up this morning. Remember that you are the observer. What do you notice (what are you observing)? You are watching the movie of your life…
Remember being sleepy? What did you think about it? Did you want to come to school? What else do you notice?
What were you feeling? What body sensations were you having? What were you thinking about?
Watch yourself in this activity from the beginning to the end until another transition happens. What do you notice now?
Take three full, deep breaths and open your eyes.
My invitation is to be aware of transitions, to be in the present moment for each experience by using your breath as an anchor. It can be challenging, but it is also very possible.
During this month, take the time to notice a transition by being both the noun and the verb: the observer observing. Let your breath take you on a journey of discoveries!
– Shahara Godfrey, Mindfulness Teacher
Want to know more about Shahara? Click here to learn more.