What do you need?
What do you want?
How do you feel?
These three questions were recently given to me. It was quite a gift. One of the best gifts I’ve gotten in a long time. At any given moment, ask yourself, “What do I need?”, “What do I want?” and “How do I feel?” Then notice. No judgment attached. No need to change anything in the moment of noticing. Just notice the answers.
I have trouble with the word mindfulness. What exactly does that mean?? How can I be mindful when I am anxious? Or worried? Or overwhelmed? Or really, really busy? How can I be mindful—whatever that is—when I have six people coming at me at once. Or when I feel like I can barely get through my day. Or when there are more tasks than time. Or when. . . . Well you get the picture. I can’t hardly think the words “be mindful” much less actually be mindful.
Being mindful always conjures up images of meditation. Slow walking. Peace. Contentment. The Dalai Lama. Not me. I am not mindful. I am impetuous and impatient. I am irritable and judgmental. I am sarcastic and cynical. None of these characteristics match with my idea of what my life should look like were I to be mindful. I would be calm. And even keeled. And kind. And patient. And. . . But you know, I’m not so much. Sometimes. But not so much. At least on the inside.
On the inside, I am yelling even though my outside is smiling. Or my inside is crying while my outside is calmly having a conversation with someone. You know those times when your insides don’t match your outsides? Yeah, me too.
But these three questions I can do. I can ask myself these questions in the midst of the chaos that is me. And they help me find the me that I am. And then they help me express the me that I am. What do I need? What do I want? How do I feel? If I can’t answer those questions then I don’t know who I am. I don’t think being mindful is anything more than figuring out who you are and then being that person. It isn’t being especially calm or contented in any particular moment. It is being you in a particular moment. I send out a card with every Lolly Butter order that says, “Be you. You are Beautiful.” You are beautiful even when things are chaotic inside because you are you. You are beautiful because you will find yourself as you ask yourself those questions. And best of all, there are no wrong answers. You are who you are. Blessings to you.
You are Beautiful installation by Chicago-based Artist: Matthew Hoffman. Location: Morse Ave Metra Underpass, Miles of Murals Program in Rogers Park for 49th Ward, Chicago, IL. 12’ x 150’. 2013 - Present. Photo courtesy of https://you-are-beautiful.com/pages/public-art.