5 Ways Mindfulness Changed My Life

by Crystal Belle on November 22, 2011

It’s incredible to me how mindfulness has changed my life.

When we understand on a very real level that everything we focus on we are bringing into our lives, we begin to see that there are fewer and fewer things that really deserve that kind of power.

This is incredibly liberating and powerfully creative.

As a result of the laser-like focus of mindfulness, I’ve learned the following life-altering things:

1. What is not in front of me now doesn’t really matter. So, so much of my old life was spent thinking about what might happen or what had already happened. I analyzed situations and motives until I couldn’t even remember what had really happened. I spent hours predicting what might happen, what someone might say, what the situation might be like and then developed resentments when reality was completely different. Becoming present has made it incredibly clear to me that this moment is the one I can act in. This moment is the one I can step into fully, make eye contact with others, and feel myself in my skin. No amount of recapping history or imagining an upcoming event can substitute for what I have now.

2. Asking myself, “what do I love now?” over and over again has made it powerfully clear to me what I want in life. I used to get so frustrated, wondering if I was doing the right thing or wondering if I should be in a different field. I would get derailed easily when someone else would be passionate about what they were doing, wondering if I should do that, too. It was all lack of presence. Now that I have the experience of asking myself, over and over, what I really want, I am not at all swayed by what anyone else is doing. I know that at any given moment, I know what I want in life, because I’ve spent time honestly asking myself and listening to the answer.

It’s also a joy now to hear about new things that others are doing, and to be excited for them. I used to be frustrated when I heard about a new technology or new fun thing that someone was learning – I felt like I “should” be learning it too, and it felt heavy and oppressive. Now I love hearing about their passions and can be genuinely happy for their interests and accomplishments.

3. Knowing what I want has made it easier to eliminate what I don’t want. There are so many amazing things in the world! It can be hard to choose from at first, when there are mountains to climb and people to meet and businesses to start and ideas to bring to life. There are an infinite number of amazing things to do and learn and love! I used to beat myself up for all the amazing things I wasn’t doing, and now I know that this isn’t possible, practical, or desirable.

In asking myself, over and over, in so many beautifully present moments, “What do I love now? What do I want to do now?” I have not answered with, “Write a novel,” “climb Kilimanjaro,” “go skydiving,” or “cure cancer.” Many other beautiful, perfect souls have these things on their lists. Maybe someday they’ll show up on mine – but not today! Today, my loves are: walking, eating amazing food (I’m pregnant, so food is powerfully important to me now), writing anything that helps someone else suffer less, collaborating with amazing friends, and having an online-based business. I’m fantastically in love with my little girl and I love doing things to prepare for her arrival. I love these things.

Should I feel guilty that I’m not: training for a marathon, writing the next great novel, learning Chinese and travelling constantly? Absolutely not! It’s so easy to lovingly eliminate what I don’t want. Not in a negative, harsh way, but in a beautiful acknowledgement of what I’m focused on and what I don’t need to worry about right now.

4. Outside messages have no power anymore. You know those messages that come from TV, family, friends, the internet, our coworkers…every message that used to make me feel like I wasn’t enough: “You’re not doing X, you’re behind the times,” or “You’re not size 0, you need to work harder,” “you’re not as fast at X task as Susan, you might want to work on that.”

Now, it’s obvious to me that being a size 0 is not on my priority list, and that’s perfect. Learning Susan’s task isn’t one of my favorite things, I’m so grateful that Susan is so good at it. There are so many great things that others are doing, and that’s wonderful! I have that much more time for what I do want.

The more present I become and clearer I get with what I love, the more absurd those messages sound. It’s hilarious how often we’re led to believe we should do something just because ten other people believe it’s a desirable goal.

5. The things I love multiply and come into my life at lightening speed. This is where that “magic” happens. As a result of not thinking about what I don’t want, not getting caught up in the messages of “should” and “shouldn’t,” not getting distracted by what isn’t happening now, I have incredible time and energy to do exactly what I love. I have the time to spend 30, 60, 90 minutes on writing my ebook that I previously would’ve spent chasing after something I “should” be doing. As a result? I’m about ready to release another ebook! I have more time to take walks, work on my business, and prepare for the new baby. Things happen so quickly in my life now that people tell me they can hardly keep up!

Mindfulness, presence, falling in love with this moment has been so transforming for me. I hope you’re encouraged to let go of the past and spend a little time here, too. It will change your life.

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Mayra November 22, 2011 at 6:50 am

Outstanding Belle! ….beautifully articulated….having a total love affair with this moment :-)

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Belle November 22, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Thank you Mayra! I am so grateful for you and your mindfulness journey… we are both growing together!

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Michaela November 22, 2011 at 7:03 am

This was the perfect thing for me to read in this moment! Thank you for sharing so honestly and with such wisdom!

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Belle November 22, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Michaela, thank you so much for your comment! ❤ I am grateful for your journey and your presence here!
Love,
Belle

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Julie Norman November 22, 2011 at 9:48 am

Belle I could not agree more on all points! It’s so wonderful to be living the life only I can live and letting go of everything else. Thanks again for sharing your light with us all, can’t wait to share this amazing post with everyone I know!

Much luv!

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Belle November 22, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Julie you are amazing! Thank you for sharing this with your tribe and for taking the time to comment. I’m so grateful for you! ❤

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Kelly Montes November 22, 2011 at 9:53 am

So, that is what I was experiencing yesterday. In my state of total presence I was no longer bothered by what “I thought” someone was thinking about me. I was there, 100%. And in that there was peace and joy and bliss. When I woke this morning and before I read your words of wisdom I was wondering why yesterday was so deliciously easy. The mindfullness you speak of is pure magic!

And, how seriously lucky for you that you have discovered this magic at this time in your life. You will never miss one moment of the miracle of your life or the life you carry.

Blessings Belle for always being there in presence for all!

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Belle November 22, 2011 at 10:31 pm

YES! I am so grateful, Kelly, that you’re experiencing this! Isn’t it phenomenal? I am so thrilled to hear of others experiencing this too, it just makes my day shine! Thank you for sharing and for practicing presence- it helps everyone when any of us spend even a moment being present and loving. ❤
Love,
Belle

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Rose Rilling November 22, 2011 at 10:05 am

Belle,
Wow! Words cannot describe the insight and delight reading about focusing on the present and loving what is.
Shoulds, what ifs, they don’t matter when you stay focused on the now, look out!
Love to you,
rose

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Belle November 22, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I love that Rose! Look out! All those old stories don’t stand a chance against the presence of this moment!

Love you dearly,
Belle

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Diane Neiswinter November 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm

You amaze me every time I read one of these. But this one is especially heavy. You have reached into my soul Belle. I have not gotten past #1 yet because that is so much I have to absorb it. Anything with mindfulness in the title has been grabbing my attention for a year now. It appears we have been on the same quest except you have shortened my journey by feeding my soul with what you have learned. Thank you my friend!

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Belle November 22, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Diane! I am so honored. Thank you for taking the time to comment and to share your journey with mindfulness. Many of us are on this path in varying degrees, and I’m so grateful to be a part of yours!
Love&hugs!
Belle

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melanie November 22, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Wow….you are truly amazing at what you do. I have never commented before but I have been reading and honestly I cannot believe just how beautiful, honest and helpful your posts are. Please keep it up, you are truly doing what you are meant to do…what a gift you are!!:)

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Belle November 22, 2011 at 10:36 pm

I am so honored, Melanie! Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am so grateful for you! ❤
Love,
Belle

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julia November 23, 2011 at 12:43 am

Damn, girl. This is so crystal CLEAR. So beautifully written. So totally right on, so healing and helpful. Thank you, thank you for taking the time in your now moments to articulate the beauty you are finding. I will keep reading this…the reminders are so very necessary & so very helpful.

So much love to you, my friend,

Julia

P.S: OH! I had no idea you were pregnant! Big congratulations to you! And, a girl! Magic. I have plenty of girl advice for you if you ever need any. :) (I have two of my very own)

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Belle November 30, 2011 at 12:57 am

You are my first call (or email;) for girl advice. I am so grateful to have you for a resource! I love your mindfulness and creativity and I know your girls are being raised in a very special, incredibly loving way. I can’t wait to learn more from you!
Love&hugs,
Belle

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Alia November 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Belle, this is such a gift to wake up to on this Bali Thanksgiving Day. You inspire me. Thank you for sharing such powerful wisdom here. Lots of love to you.

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Belle November 30, 2011 at 12:57 am

Thank you Alia! I hope you had a beautiful holiday in Bali, and a beautiful every day. =)
Love&hugs,
Belle

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Heather November 24, 2011 at 1:20 am

Great post! I am working on my journey of getting in touch wiht what I really love, and working on not listening to the shoulds or expectations of.. I don’t know!
Congrats on the soon to be little addition to your life!

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Belle November 30, 2011 at 12:59 am

Thanks Heather!
I’ve found that once I get past the idea that I need to hang on to those shoulds and expectations, I feel fantastically free! To your wildest, most loving life!
Belle

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Lynn November 24, 2011 at 7:40 am

Thank you. I needed that!

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Belle November 30, 2011 at 12:59 am

Thank you, Lynn! ♥

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Susan November 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I am printing to take home and truly absorb these words
Thanks you in advance I am Blessed to have Stumbled upon this

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Belle November 30, 2011 at 12:59 am

Thank you, Susan! ♥

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Mary November 29, 2011 at 10:43 am

Thank you so much for this. I love when I come across something that seemingly reads my mind. I’ve been such a mess lately, and I’ve been digesting tons of advice to achieve mindfulness, focus, simplicity, slowness, contentedness, etc. I’m still struggling so much, but out of everything I’ve read, never once have I felt so connected. My monkey mind is restlessly jumping from one idea to another about what I should be doing, should be learning–skills I need to be honing. And I’m constantly getting distracted by others’ cool projects, wanting to adopt them, fantasizing about a million different future versions of me. But all of this thinking is not mindfulness–it’s driving me crazy and preventing me to focus on anything. It’s making me so unhappy. And even though I’m still stumped trying to answer the question of what I love now, I will continue to ask it and hopefully my focus will progress.

Sorry for babbling so much. I just wonder–did you, Belle, go to college? I’m a student now and I find my lifestyle here and my ideals to be totally conflicting. It’s hard to incorporate these liberating ideas into my life while I’m so caught up in this system of education. While I love some aspects of it, I get so bogged down by the stupid general ed courses I have to take, which prevent me to focus whole-heartedly on my major. There are also so many things I’d love to try, if only I had the time or the access. I feel like the people who surround me aren’t at all on the same wavelength as me (I don’t mean that in a mean way, I just mean that I’ve yet to meet another who praises slowness, simplicity, mindfulness, minimalism, etc). I don’t know how to, for example, love and enjoy time with my roommates without being pulled away from my ideals. And perhaps this is all a sign that I’m just beginning–I truly, truly am–and I have a lot more to grow (I truly, truly do). Maybe I’m just making excuses for myself–why should my environment be a hindrance? But I’m struggling to make a real shift in the way I think and behave. Maybe I’m looking at this all the wrong way, I don’t know…Anyway. Thank you so much for the great article, I’ll be back.

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Belle November 30, 2011 at 1:04 am

Mary,

Wow, I love it so much that you shared your experience and story with us! Thank you! And you are on a beautiful path of love and presence, or you wouldn’t be asking these questions.

I do want to say that absolutely nothing in your life needs to be a hinderance to mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply adoring this present moment, wherever we find ourselves. Whatever you set for your big picture goal, “set it and forget it” ;) and return to the present. When we truly love this moment, it doesn’t matter what people we’re around, what situations we’re in, or how much time we THINK we have or don’t have. All we EVER have is this moment. Keep asking your amazing questions and the universe will give you amazing answers!
Sending you love and peace in this moment,
Belle

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Mae November 29, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Wow, this was just what I needed to read, just when I needed to read it. Next time I get all spun out, I’ll breath and remember your words. I love it when kismet happens!! Thank you so much for putting it so perfectly and helping me to gain perspective.

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Belle November 30, 2011 at 1:00 am

Thank you Mae! I believe we run across exactly what we need when we need it, and I’m grateful you’re here! ♥
Love,
Belle

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Jackie January 4, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Just stumbled upon this beautiful site as I’m trying to establish my “niche” for a blog that I’m starting. I searched “inspire women” and this is absolutely the perfect thing I could have read today. Thank you.

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Belle January 4, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Thank you, Jackie! I am so honored you took the time to comment. I am truly excited for you and your blog- please share it when it’s live! I know it will be absolutely wonderful!
Love,
Belle

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Mayank Taneja March 21, 2012 at 9:55 am

Its one of the best articles on self help I have read recently. Super awesome!!

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Becca April 1, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Live in the moment exercise: I am mindfully on my way out the door with garden tools to get a dose of Vitamin D!

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Belle April 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Love it! Go Becca! <3

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Belle April 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Thank you Mayank!

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Mindy April 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Thank you for standing up in your power and shining your light so brightly! You are an inspiration and a wayshower. I am creating a new website and blog…I hope to inspire and touch hearts like you.
Many Blessings!
Mindy

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Mary May 28, 2012 at 11:24 am

Hi! It’s me again (I posted quite a lengthy comment back in November). I’m here to tell you that I’m doing better than ever now, though not without quite a rough few months. All in due process, I suppose. What has changed the most for me is my perspective; I’ve had to learn not to use limiting language toward myself, and think positively. And while it’s still a challenge, it’s been an immense change already, I can tell. I keep this article saved, and I just “stumbled upon” it today and thought I’d let you know that the advice and reminders have been of great help–a source of great strength. I’m happier than I’ve been in years and I know I’ll continue to grow. So thank you! And I hope you have a wonderful while (this is what my friends & I say– a “while” rather than “day” or something specific, since we don’t always know when we’ll speak or meet again)!

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Belle June 6, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Oh Mary! This makes my heart sing! I am so happy for you! What a beautiful, beautiful soul you are. Thank you for taking the time to share your update…!
Have a beautiful while yourself, dear friend!
Love,
Belle

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Maureen Grobler September 4, 2012 at 4:57 am

I think I should be spending more time with you Belle… such wisdom… Thank you!!

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