Iris Mini: Mindfulness Exercise

“Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experience." - Jon Kabat-Zinn 

Mindfulness is a way of observing your experience and connecting to the present moment. It is a method of bringing full attention to each moment in your life in order to experience things more fully. This includes not judging yourself, your thoughts, or your feelings. Mindfulness is not a special state that you enter but an awareness of each moment as it occurs. The best way to understand mindfulness is to try and practice it.

One Way to Practice Mindfulness

Sit in a comfortable position. Turn one of your hands upward and hold it a comfortable distance from your face. Observe your hand carefully, as if you have never seen it before. Take a few minutes to make your observations. First, notice the outline of your hand. Trace the outline of your hand with your eyes, starting at your thumb and tracing around all your fingers. Now, notice the large lines on your palm and the shapes they make. Focus on one of those lines and notice how there are many smaller lines connecting it.

Then, focus on the tip of one of your fingers. Notice the spiral pattern there. See how the pattern does not stop at your fingertip but goes down your finger. Trace it down your finger and notice how it runs into your palm. Now, bring your little finger toward your thumb and notice how your palm folds up. Separate your fingers and see how your skin changes. Turn your hand over so the back is facing up. Notice the skin on the back of your hand. Notice any criticisms or judgments your mind makes. Notice scars, marks, and blemishes. See how the skin changes when it passes over a vein or a knuckle.

Slowly make a fist with your hand. Notice how the texture of your skin changes. Focus now on your knuckles. Rotate your fist and notice what happens to your knuckles. Now, focus on one of your fingernails. Notice the texture of the nail and the different colors. Notice where it enters the skin. Now, very slowly wiggle your fingers gently up and down. Notice the tendons moving under the skin. See how they pump up and down. Place your hand back in your lap and take a few silent moments to reflect.