Sacramento, CA

How to practice meditation and mindfulness for happier lives

Carmen Micsa

Author's personal experience with meditation in motion

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Picture of the author during a 10-mile run on the American River Parkway, Sacramento, CALeilani Dunmoyer, my runner friend
“Mindfulness meditation is a mental training practice that teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm both your mind and body. It combines meditation with the practice of mindfulness, which can be defined as a mental state that involves being fully focused on “the now” so you can acknowledge and accept your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment.” — Kendra Cherry in What is Mindfulness Meditation?

To me, meditation and mindfulness are intertwined and interconnected, for they balance each other out — enhancing our bodies and minds in one short, medium, or long session. Isolating them would be like separating identical twins from one another at birth.

A moving session and adventure. Running mindfully. Meditating in motion. Breathing and grappling with my thoughts as they bounce around to distract me. Catching and redirecting them through many smiles through all my miles, as I like to repeat myself after many of my runs.

Meditation

“The easiest way to get touch with this universal power is through silent Prayer. Shut your eyes, shut your mouth, and open your heart. This is the golden rule of prayer. Prayer should be soundless words coming forth from the center of your heart filled with love.” ― Amit Ray, Om Chanting and Meditation

I love this quote because it takes me back to my childhood in Romania when my mom first taught me the children’s prayer before I learned the regular prayer that I say before going to bed each night:

“My little angel please pray to God for me
for my little soul.
I am small, please help me grow.
I am weak, please make me strong.
Please watch over me everywhere I go
and protect me from all evils. Amen”

Little did I know that my mom unknowingly had taught me to meditate since I was six years old. From this little prayer that I never failed to whisper in my head before bedtime, I learned:

  1. To ask God for help for any little or big problem
  2. Humility from the line “my little soul,” which is used both literally and figuratively
  3. About physical and spiritual growth
  4. About mental and physical strength
  5. About being looked after
  6. About protection from all evils
  7. About trust in a higher power who will truly watch over me
  8. About stillness
  9. About silence
  10. About praying

Fast forward more than 40 years later, reading Amit Ray’s reflection, I understand meditation as:

  1. Silent Prayer
  2. Shutting our eyes and mouths, while opening our hearts.
  3. Soundless words filled with love that come from our hearts.
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Photo by Farsai Chaikulngamdee on Unsplash

And for those practicing yoga, there is the final savasana or shavasana, or the corpse pose, a term derived from two Sanskrit roots; shava, meaning “corpse,” and asana meaning “seat” or “posture.” The first written record of savasana is found in classic 15th-century yoga text, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, which says: “Lying down on the ground, like a corpse, is called savasana. It removes fatigue and gives rest to the mind.”

And although I prefer running as my meditation in motion, I love doing hot yoga, and I particularly look forward to the final shavasana while I am dripping from all my pores after the yoga practice in a room as hot as a sauna, around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mindfulness

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” — Mother Teresa

Running has turned me into a more mindful and careful observer of the world around me. I see things that seemed invisible to my eyes and mind before, such as this kaleidoscope of leaves after an autumn storm.

I stopped my run to capture the fiery colors of autumn. I marveled at the leaves’ strong hold onto the wet and sobbing ground. They looked like perfect stickers carefully attached by nature’s winds and heavy rains. A poem has been born that same morning right after my run.

Autumn Bandages

Mending mankind — published in The Lark

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Autumn leavesPhoto by Carmen Micsa

Stricken with grief
levitating leaves
coalesce in their free fall
and turn into autumn bandages
mending mankind of every kind.

Stickers of stolen joy
peeled from their luscious lives
fall leaves kiss the damp ground
after a sudden storm
mending mankind of every kind.

Saddled with sorrow
for an unknown tomorrow
fall leaves stick together
in a mosaic of color
mending mankind of every kind.

Autumn bandages
stricken with solitude
stickers of renewed joy
saddled with daunting dreams
mending mankind of every kind.

Mending mankind of every kind
with stickers of renewed joy.

@Carmen Micsa, 2021

As I ran by these vibrant leaves glued to the ground like a wig, I snapped a picture. That’s how this poem of healing was born with the reminder that we can be more mindful and have the ability to transform our lives into stickers of renewed joy after each inner or outer storm if we coalesce together for the greater good.

To me, mindfulness is nothing but running and splashing through puddles after a storm — shrieking with joy when the cold water seeps through my shoes and makes my toes cold. It is that moment of realization that everything we need to be happy is right here, right now, which is why we can’t let go of every day’s indelible moments of sunshine.

According to Psychology Today, mindfulness encompasses two key ingredients: awareness and acceptance.

Awareness is the knowledge and ability to focus attention on one’s inner processes and experiences, such as the experience of the present moment. Acceptance is the ability to observe and accept — rather than judge or avoid — those streams of thought.” — Psychology Today Staff

From my mindful runs, I have noticed that awareness of something unique, marvelous, and magical comes first, after which there is acceptance.

Takeaways:

  1. Meditation and mindfulness are intricately connected.
  2. Meditation can be achieved through any activity of your choice, such as walking, running, or yoga to name just a few.
  3. Meditation is a silent prayer.
  4. Mindfulness only requires us to be like autumn leaves firmly stuck to the ground in the present moment.
  5. Awareness and acceptance are key ingredients of mindfulness.

I run, therefore I write! I run, therefore I breathe! I run, therefore I see. I run, therefore I am!

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CEO/Broker of Dynamic Real Estate, Inc., business owner featured in the Forbes magazine for my outstanding service to my clients. Mom, wife, a published author, Medium writer, poet, marathon runner, rapper, and tennis player.

Carmichael, CA
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