Permission to Just Be

When I teach mindfulness, the first exercise I give is red-light practice: View red lights as an invitation to pause, breathe, and be. Rarely are we told to "stop and take a break," yet red lights do just that. They remind us to pause. Three breaths of awareness can make a big difference. Often, students say, "I wish there were more red lights."

We need regular pauses in our day to check in with ourselves. If we're caught up in busyness, we lose track of what's most important. If we're lost in distractions, we're disconnected from our hearts. This blog post is a kind red light (to which you can return again and again). You have permission to just be. Release the doing, thinking, and striving, and check in with yourself. Here's a short meditation to guide the process:

Once we have a bigger perspective—or perhaps a more focused intention—we can choose our next steps. What do I most need in this moment? (Connection, rest, nourishment, movement, effort, or play?) How can I move forward in ways that best serve myself and others? Rather than acting from autopilot, make conscious choices. Slow the pace, listen inward, and be willing to begin again. 

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.