In my honest opinion, a mindfulness practice reaches far beyond daily meditations, yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy, chakra clearing, etc. Though all these things have certainly helped to strengthen my mindfulness practice, there is one in particular that I’ve been doing for so many years I just realized was part of my holistic practice.
Yep, here I am, making a PSA about the importance of reading, reading rainbow style!
I have always been (and remain) a voracious reader. For me, it is the purest form of escapism. I open the pages, inhale the smell of a well-worn book, or even the crispness of a brand new one and settle in to breathing life into the characters and scenes before me. I sink into another world where the reality of daily stressors of emails, meetings, work conflicts, long lists of life to-do’s melt away into the pages of the narrative.
Admittedly, like any child or teenager who wanted to escape a less than perfect home life, I used reading as a way to be away from all of that. It was free-ing when “escaping” was limited by no car, cellphone, and dial-up internet (yes, I’m that old).
But now…I am purely present.
My breath evens out, my long list of anxious worrying thoughts take a back seat, my body relaxes as the only movement being asked of it is the gentle turn of the page or swipe of my thumb. All that matters is the next word, the next paragraph, the next chapter. I am living and breathing moment-to-moment, just like every meditation practice teaches us.
I turn myself inward by immersing myself in storytelling. So practice a little gentle escapism by turning into a character of your choice. And when you bookmark that page and come back to reality, remember the evenness of your breath, the comfort of a story, and create your own–mindfully!