The Art of Clearing Your Mind

“Mindfulness refers to being completely in touch with and aware of the present moment, as well as taking a non-evaluative and non-judgmental approach to your inner experience. For example, a mindful approach to one’s inner experience is simply viewing “thoughts as thoughts” as opposed to evaluating certain thoughts as positive or negative.”

By Cher Odum

I woke up this morning with sticky notes scattered all over my counter top, three or four to-do lists that needed to be updated, a head spinning with ideas, a house to clean, breakfast to make, three kids to be mommy to, and needing to head out the door to dance classes.  Oh and add to that some spilled pancake batter and green sprinkles that my son had fun decorating the kitchen floor with.

My mind was anything but clear!

I’ve heard my yoga teacher ask us to clear our minds and be present with the moment.  Telling us to spend time just breathing and thinking about our breath….in….out…in….  Challenging us to be fully present with our body and the moment.  The art of clearing our minds of all the busyness and spinning thoughts but also the art of being “MINDFUL” as stated above.

Sounds so nice.  Right?  Sounds easy?  Sure.  But I’ve never for the life of me been able to practice this Zen-like art of shutting my loud and pressing thoughts off to just BE.  The longest I’ve lasted in this state of mindfulness or whatever you might call it is about two minutes.  Maybe three.  Okay, I lie.  Make that twenty seconds.

Today is the day.  The day I challenged myself to spend time practicing this art of clearing my mind and just being fully present in the moment.  Listening to my breath, the birds, the wind, the sound of my feet.  I  was determined to spend time not thinking about the things I need from the store, the bills that need to be opened and filed, the e-mails I have not responded to in weeks, the new website I’m trying to set up, etc.  I was determined to drop the girls off at dance, put my son in the jogging stroller, and hit the road. I would just run and clear my mind. Simple.

This was a great plan and it did help me to experience some pretty peaceful moments but I didn’t last long.  Not with my hyperactive self.  I’d see a bird and it would remind me of a song I knew about a bird and then the marathon I ran because I had listened to that song and then the blog that I was setting up because it was tied into running….. you get the idea.  It wasn’t easy.  Every time I brought myself back to the present moment, I’d last maybe another minute before my mind started working again and I’d lose it.

So, the challenge is on!  I love a challenge.  And I love new goals.  I think this one is important.

Goal:  Everyday I will find a time that I just dedicate to clearing my mind and being fully present in the moment.  Being mindful.  If a thought comes in, I will acknowledge it and then let it go without dwelling on it or letting it take charge of my mind.  Eventually I’d like to be able to do this for much longer and much more often than just a few moments but for now I will set the goal for 10 minutes.  This is going to be harder for me than it may sound but I’m not one to set unreasonable goals so I think I can do it.  I envision that I will try to enjoy this time either on a run or sitting outside in the yard stretching.  This makes sense to me.

What helps you to clear your head?  Do you try to spend time where you just stop your thinking and try to be fully present in the moment around you?  

Two things that help us to clear our head……


by Cher Odum



By Cher Odum

What helps you to clear your head?  Do you try to spend time where you just stop your thinking and try to be fully present in the moment around you?  

Happy Mindfulness!



18 thoughts on “The Art of Clearing Your Mind

  1. Stretching after a hard workout. I love the feeling of sitting/lying/bending, feeling hot muscles pulling and burning and slowly relaxing. Smelling my own sweat (maybe sounds gross, but I’m proud of what I’ve done to earn that sweat every day!), laying my hand on my belly and feeling my heartbeat slow down, closing my eyes and hearing the next class come in and get ready, wondering what will be sore tomorrow and being excited to find out. I’m always the last person out the door, but I don’t care. My stretch time is MY TIME. 🙂

  2. Hey Amanda, nice writing here. I think building a meditation practice is such a great idea. Research shows that 2X20min/day over a couple of months really changes brain pathways and makes you much calmer, less reactive, and happier overall. So why don’t people do it or stick with it? Because it is very hard. And it is not pleasant, at least at the beginning. I had a meditation practice for over 2 years and I started with 1 minutes, and built up to 20 min/day. It did wonders for me, and, even though I am not meditating any more, I somehow retained some of the calmness that meditation brings. Something that helped me was to focus on my breath and/or count my breaths 1-10, and again and again. Your mind needs something to follow, at least at the beginning. Can you tell I studied this for some time? If you really want to get into meditation I have some really good book recommendations:)

  3. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit (I always want to know who “they” are?) – I did the Chopra Center 21-day meditation challenge a while back and it helped me to build my meditation practice. It’s not easy and I’ve fallen off the wagon many times. But I find when I do take that time out each day, I’m much more centered and calmer person.

  4. I have read about and thought about committing myself to a real meditation practice for years, but just haven’t ever taken that final step. I know–I KNOW!–that it would be nothing but good for me. It always feels like you just “don’t have the time” to give to it, but we all know that’s a bunch of hooey. hmmm…I’m backing myself into a corner here…Well, I’ll just say that I agree with everything you said ( :

  5. Clearing my head is so difficult, my mind is always racing, always “trying” to multitask. At night as I lay in bed I do a quick routine called 12 breaths that I learned doing yoga, it is amazing!

  6. SNAP! Like many of the other commenters I KNOW that I need to get into this. 2X20 a day should be doable right? Please add the recommended books – I would LOVE to read those.

  7. This was great! More really great writing!! I’m enjoying the comments here too as I struggle SO much with being able to turn everything off and just be present. I’ve tried many times to start a routine here. I’m wondering if I could even make it one minute right now. Every time I try, I start obsessing about not thinking about other things and I can’t get my brain to shut down. I can’t even pray anymore. Anyway,rambling but this is at least making me realize I need to make an effort again. Maybe starting with breathing…..Post any book recommendations you get!

  8. I actually did my first yoga class a couple weeks ago that I loved. (had done hot yoga before and that was definitely not relaxing). It was awesome to really be mindful during the class and take a deep breath. Isn’t it amazing how little deep breaths we actually take in our busy lives?

    I can’t sleep tonight…kind of ironic because I can’t turn my mind off!! oops. You and your mom might appreciate my friend, Michelle Allen’s, art. Similar style to your mom. She is an incredible artist and is known for her clocks but her ‘art journaling’ is something I’ve always admired. She is a runner and just a really inspirational person. Here is a link to her ‘art journal’ pages but click on “home” too, to see the rest of her art and life. She is local in Battle Ground.

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