Embracing Impermanence

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To embrace impermanence and accept that the only constant is change, we need to compassionately address our attachments and our propensities to cling and to grasp. We’re wired to seek safety and security in our environment and with other people, so be kind to yourself as you explore these human tendencies.

Some things to notice:

  • How do you feel when you lose an item that belongs to you? Aside from the monetary loss, is there an emotional attachment? If so, sit with that feeling. Where is it in your body? What does it remind you of? Is it familiar or foreign to you? Why is that?
  • When a key personal relationship ends or changes, how do you respond? In addition to potential grief, heartache, or loss, are you holding on to an idea about the relationship? What does it feel like in your body? What other thoughts, feelings, or memories come up? Are any of them surprising to you? Why?
  • If important life plans are suddenly changed, how do you respond? What’s the first emotion and the first thought? Where do they come from? What or who does your internal voice sound like?

Mindfulness Practice: The Thank You Hug

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Embrace a loved one, or hold a pet in your lap or close to you, for at least 20 seconds. Longer is even better. During the hug, notice how it feels to hold this person close. How does their body and skin feel? How do they smell? What fond memories do you have of embracing this person? Take in the good feeling of hugging someone you care about. As you experience the hug, repeat to yourself silently or out loud, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. You are taking in the good through noticing and gratitude.

Accepting What Is

Acceptance of what is takes practice. It is a practice, in fact. A practice of mindfulness that takes time and attention. In our fast-paced lives we may expect accepting what is to happen quickly, like flipping a switch. Sometimes it may work this way, but the bigger and harder things in life take time to accept and this is okay. When you’re practicing acceptance,  you’re rewiring your brain.

It’s a lot like building muscle mass. If you begin a new exercise program for the purpose of becoming stronger, you don’t expect to end your first workout having achieved the final result of the program, do you? Nope. You know that it will take time. Weeks, months, perhaps even years, depending on where you were at physically when you began and the ultimate goal.

Changing our thinking takes time, too. It begins with small efforts, moments of mindfulness that we build into our days, and it grows from there.

Here’s a great acceptance practice from Rick Hansen:

http://eusophi.com/accept-them-as-they-are/