THE BLOG
05/08/2013 11:19 am ET Updated Jul 08, 2013

The Soul of Mindfulness: 7 Tips for Groovin' With Your Practice

As the inimitable Goldie Hawn put it, "Why not just live in the moment, especially if it has a good beat?"

Cultivating a mindful awareness practice helps us feel the rhythm of each day. And when we begin dancing with the moments of our lives as they're happening, well then... all sorts of magic can happen.

The magic of mindfulness helps us get up. Get movin'. Groovin', as it were.

7 Sweet Tips for Mindful Groovin'

1. In the song "Newborn," Joss Stone talks about treating the day as a newborn baby, treating this moment as if we've never felt it before. It's a perfect description of mindful awareness. In fact, no one moment is ever like any we've ever felt before. It's a little astonishing, isn't it? And very cool.

2. Soul Queen Aretha urges us to let our minds go and let ourselves be free in "Think." Freedom from the tyranny of our tiny ego-driven thinking mind -- that which we usually believe is all of reality -- is possible with a mindful awareness practice.

As we learn to observe our mind, in effect letting it go, we reclaim ourselves moment by moment. By moment. In that reclamation lies the possibility of freedom.

3. Times inevitably get bad, and we inevitably need someone to lean on, or someplace to lean into, as Sam and Dave (and many others) sang in "Lean on Me." We need sanctuary. Refuge.

What might happen if we developed a practice of leaning on ourselves, into our own deeper wisdom, for relief during the rough patches?

What if we understood that refuge is always available? It's right here, right now. As Tara Brach, Ph.D., in True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heartsays, "You realize that you can start right where you are, in the midst of your life, and find peace in any circumstance."

4. What about the place where everything is all right? The Drifters assured us that there's just such a place. It's up on the roof. The truth is that mindful awareness helps us learn that everything is all right. We don't have to run away, or repress, or pretend ourselves away, as so many of my clients have done. As I have done. We can learn to hold all of what life brings us.

5. Mary J. Blige reminds us that it's all about the trying. Trying to be whole, remembering that life itself is a work in progress ("Work in Progress"). A mindful meditation practice helps with that work in progress thing, the one that's about being fully in our lives, no matter what. And it greatly supports our efforts toward health and wholeness... being complete.

6. In "Life Has a Way," Anthony Hamilton croons that there is always more room -- to grow, to deepen, to more fully inhabit our lives. Mindfulness can help us create more space, for more living.

7. Soul Brothers Six sang about something pretty wonderful in the hit "Some Kind of Wonderful." Life can be some kinda wonderful, in the moments of each day, dancing with the rhythms of it all. And mindful awareness can help get us into the dance, loving every minute of it. Who wouldn't want that?

Mindfulness is such a deceptively simple practice. Gotta dance with it to understand how it's all pretty wonderful, though. Because it's experiential, not intellectual.

It can help us feel what we need in each of the moments of our lives. It can help us see what's what. And once we see what's what, we then can take action. Action that comes from a deeper place of knowing, a more true and authentic realization of what matters, rather than the typical knee-jerk whatever.

Sometimes that action is to sing along with Aretha. To get up and dance. Just because. Because that's the invitation in that moment.

The benefits of mindfulness aren't all ponderous and weighty and Buddhist monk-y feeling things. It sweetens our moments, our days, our lives.

Gosh, what if we lived more in soulful attunement to the exquisite preciousness of life as it presents itself moment by moment?

What if we get up offa' our things and dance till we felt better, as James Brown says... all the while in rhythm with whatever is alive in those precious moments?

Note: this post was inspired by the film The Sapphires.

For more by Melanie Harth, Ph.D., LMHC, click here.

For more on mindfulness, click here.

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