Insights: Living with Mindfulness

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With my mom passing nearly a year ago, it makes me realize not only how time flies, but how important it is to enjoy and appreciate what is.

I have had this lesson before, but for some reason this past year the lesson hit me over the head and I have digested it fully.

As human beings, we tend to have the propensity towards doing what we know and what is easy, not what makes us the best version of ourselves.

This takes being conscious and being mindful of all our decisions, all our choices. Yes, all decisions have an impact on us, no matter how small they are, and also on those around us.

mindsightLiving with mindfulness takes a commitment to being present to each moment and each decision. Dan Siegel’s book “Mindsight” goes into great depths of not only how important mindfulness is, but also the biology around it and how it impacts us.

It sounds so simple to be that present to our lives, but you will be amazed at how many people are on automatic pilot, which leaves them open to being caught up in what I like to call the “shiny” things in life, rather than what is really important, meaningful and ultimately makes us happy.

We have to take time to know ourselves, to know what is meaningful. So often I ask my clients what is important to them, and their answer is often “I don’t know.” Sometimes we think we know, but what we think is the real us is actually what society, family or friends have told us we are.

Being mindful means paying attention to not only the good in our lives, but also the challenges. We tend to push against, ignore or reject the negative; however, when we can embrace the difficult moments in life, it does not stop the pain, but it does help us process the grief and allow us to heal.

Therefore I embrace not just the happy and fun moments, but the challenging and painful moments. They all have something for us to learn.

Another important part of living mindfully is to pay attention to what one wants to accomplish in our lifetime.

One of my items on my bucket list was to go to Thailand, however I kept putting it off as it felt a little intimidating going by myself. Also, that long 21 hour flight seemed too daunting.

Instead of looking at the reasons of why not to go, I looked at the reasons to go, and now have my seat booked to fly those 21 hours to Thailand next week. I’m excited, a little nervous, but mostly committed to being fully me, and that means travelling, doing charity work, connecting with others, making a difference in my practice, and hopefully making this world just a little bit better.

I will be writing about my trip in the next few columns. I hope they will inspire you to be more of who you are.

I want to leave you with a wonderful quote called the Holstee Manifesto:

“This is your life. Do what you love and do it often. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love. Stop over analyzing, life is simple. All emotions are beautiful. When you eat, appreciate every last bite. Life is simple. Open your heart, mind and arms to new things and people; we are united in our differences. Ask the next person you see what their passion is and share your inspiring dream with them. Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunities only come once, seize them. Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating. Life is short, live your dream and wear your passion.”

Dr Zavala can be reached at [email protected] or


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