Big thanks to all of you who have subscribed to this blog over the last week! I am encouraged and slightly nervous. I realize more tangibly now that I owe you all my very best at mindful living, as well as writing down my thoughts and experiences, and gathering those of others. I feel humbly privileged.

Well, let’s start with Week 1 in review. I intended to practice my banjo, eat raw/clean food two-thirds of the time, run and do yoga, not eat superfluously at night, smile at strangers, and a handful of other items that will take much more than a week to accomplish. So in the first week, I did, in fact, practice my banjo every day but one. I learned a new song, and my banjo teacher offered his first words of praise, “you are living up to your tattoo!” (I have a banjo tattoo but am still a beginner, undeserving of said tattoo, of which the plan has always been to be reminded to practice and one day live up to the permanent ink). Win! I now need to start playing with other folks. I am considering the bluegrass jam class at The Station Inn (one of my favorite of places in Nashville). I think the time has come. All in all, I am proud of my banjo practice this week and motivated for more! Next, yes, I did eat raw foods two-thirds of the time, I ran twice (in spite of the cold snap) and did plenty of yoga (about 6 classes with one double day). Feeling good about all of those things. However, there was one late night in which I ate the better part of a bag of popcorn and some chocolate chips that I had scavenged out of trail mix in an attempt to soothe my troubled heart. The trouble with the heart was temporary but I let it result in a nice round of emotional eating. A lonely night that would have been remedied by simply going to bed and waking up to a fresh new day. But instead, I became fully convinced that I had good reason to cheer myself up by means of popcorn and chocolate, which inevitably did not help at all. I may have been “entitled to a treat” in my rebellious mind but my body and heart felt none the better from it. Lesson learned. I will do my best to remember next time that my well-deserved, “F-it I’m going to eat ALL the popcorn” attitude is not showing anyone anything and is only setting me back on my quest for mindfulness. Not to worry, I showed myself grace and resolved to utilize my wisdom the next time.

This review exercise really highlights and brings us back to our theme – Mindful Living. During my successes this week, I was being mindful of my actions and choices as they were happening in order to do the thing I intended to do. When I wanted to be lazy at night, I had to first notice my lethargic mental state, then remember my intention to practice my banjo, and finally, change my momentum in order to do something productive and rewarding. I used mindfulness to accomplish my intention! When I was blinded by my emotions and attitude of entitlement to popcorn and chocolate, I was not being mindful and completely forgot my intention to not eat snacks late at night. It’s so obvious and simple! Even a child could learn this mindfulness thing, and actually, they do! They probably learn it better than us adults because they do not have our ingrained habits and patterns of thinking and reacting. And therefore, our task at hand is to set new patterns and establish new habits. Be present so that we can be mindful of our intentions.

I haven’t studied Mindfulness as a theory (yet) but it seems intuitive that the fruit of mindfulness is remembering. Remembering to live the way we want to live. Noticing that we have the opportunity – to live authentically. And this is exciting. Encouraging, hopeful and even freeing. So week 2, here we come. With more knowledge, more experience and more mindfulness to receive the rewards of our good intentions.