an editor’s perspective
Sometimes when I’m a bit overwhelmed with how to clearly and concisely get a point across, I revert to my editorial training. Before the explosion of cute cat videos gave the internet-connected world a(nother) way to procrastinate, we editors would conduct all sorts of research, confirm citations, check facts, and even verify what the words before us really meant. One of my favorite references was, and still is, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.
The first definition of mindfulness is: “the quality or state of being mindful.” What the heck do they mean by being mindful? There’s two definitions for “mindful”: “bearing in mind: aware” and “inclined to be aware.” So the keyword seems to be aware, which is first defined as: “having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge.” OK, back to mindfulness. The second definition reads: “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis; also: such a state of awareness.”
Wow. That’s a lot to unpack. Let’s ditch everything after the semicolon in the second “mindfulness” definition. Now slip some of the “aware” definition in there. Gotta relax some of that formal language. Maybe mix up the syntax. Perhaps my definition of being mindful comes out this way:
When we try to realize, perceive, or know our thoughts, emotions, or experiences without judgment in the present moment, we are being mindful.
Now a version with fewer words (and maybe more clarity?):
Whenever we get and respect our true selves in the here-and-now, we are being mindful.
try being mindful
- when you eat
- when you walk
- when you take a shower or bath
- when you’re the listener in a conversation
- when you’re waiting in line
other mindful ideas
- focus on what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel
- do a body scan
- get into nature
- pause before you do
- start your day without tech
- write a gratitude list every day
some mindfulness practices