How Mindfulness Moves Us

When hard things happen and we’re left with all our messy emotions, our mindfulness practice can help us shift and welcome joy.

Adobe Stock/Евгений Шемякин

This is the fourteenth time I’ve had the pleasure of writing a letter to you all. The very first time was for the Winter 2020 issue of Mindful, during the height of the pandemic when we weren’t sure what the future might hold. I remember writing these words: “There is always compassionate space available to you, in every moment. Space to pause. Space to breathe. Space to reclaim your attention. To communicate with wisdom and skill. To forgive yourself and others. And to remember that joy is your birthright.”

Joy is your birthright! Yes! And…sometimes, especially when the world seems unfair or downright painful, the fact that joy is always an option makes me quite angry. What right does joy have to show up now?, my grumpiest self mutters.

If I’m paying attention at all, this is exactly when I remember that I’m more than just my pain, my grief, and my thoughts. I breathe and invite my discomfort in a little closer—make sure it doesn’t lash out at others. I give it some care. Some love. Some time.

We’re celebrating how our practice moves with us throughout our lives, through pain and difficulty, through moments of spectacular and ordinary wonder.

Lately, I’ve been taking my grumpy self (along with my girls and their friends) to the roller rink and skating around in circles to Salt-n-Pepa and show tunes (our local rink has a fantastic DJ). These weekend excursions have connected me to joy in a whole new way. It’s ridiculous how much fun I’m having. And how much gratitude wells up during these few hours on a Sunday afternoon. Gratitude for my kids when I hear them laughing with their friends. Gratitude for my body, which is strong enough to hold me up still. For my knees, withstanding the pressure of endless left turns even though I’ve been sitting at my computer all week. For the community of parents who show up for time with their kiddos. Gratitude. Gratitude, joy, and movement.

This latest issue of Mindful magazine is dedicated to joyful movement. Not just the joy of moving our bodies—we’re celebrating how our practice moves with us throughout our lives, through pain and difficulty, through moments of spectacular and ordinary wonder. How it ebbs and flows, blooms and blossoms. Our lovely team of editors and designers curated stories in these pages to remind you that mindfulness begins and ends in the body, not the mind.

I hope you never forget that joy is your birthright. And if you do forget, or if your anger or pain feel closer than the possibility of joy, may you remember to seek out tiny moments of everyday wonder and let them fill your heart with gratitude for this beautiful life.

With all my love,

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