GUEST BLOG POST: BOOK EXCERPT: 10 MINDFUL MINUTES: A Journal by Goldie Hawn
Excerpted from 10 MINDFUL MINUTES: A Journal by Goldie Hawn, with the permission of Perigee/Penguin, a division of Penguin Random House. Copyright © 2015.
Every day, life presents us with opportunities to be compassionate, feel someone else’s sadness or pain, and see things from another person’s point of view. —10 Mindful Minutes
“Let’s get together soon!” “I’ll call you.” “I’ll get right on that.” “Let’s grab a bite.” How many of us have said these words to someone without the intention of ever following through? Or maybe we really do intend to spend time with that person but life gets in the way. It seems today, we’re all guilty of overcommitting. We’ve got families, work, kids, playdates, birthday parties . . . and the list goes on. But the question remains, how can we honor our connection to others without sacrificing our own needs? In the space provided below, first write out ways you can honor your own connections with others. I call this “Receiving Connections.” Then write out some ideas on how you can honestly share whatever little time you have with others. I call this “Sharing Connections.” I’ve put some examples down to help start the list.
1. Allowing time to have an uninterrupted conversation with a dear friend.
2. Listen to a compliment that someone pays you without deflecting it.
3. Pick up the phone instead of letting it go to voice mail.
1. Think of one small way to surprise a spouse, friend, or relative.
2. Suggest something fun to do with someone you enjoy spending time with.
3. Offer to do a favor for someone without any reciprocation involved.
I’ve been dancing since I was three. I can honestly say that the highest points in my life, and when I’ve felt most joyful and integrated with everything around me, have been when I was moving my body to music. The method I learned required that we not only had to perform a pirouette, for instance, but also had to break down the movements to describe how each part of the body was connected to the next. It worked beautifully in integrating the two hemispheres of my brain and connecting my body and mind. On one night in particular, I was performing in West Side Story in a theater in Baltimore. Time stood still. I felt I was dancing with the air, with the molecules of the unseen. I felt completely joyful, peaceful, purposeful, and exalted. —10 Mindful Minutes
How did compassion show up in your childhood? Were your parents compassionate? Did they show compassion toward you or others? Maybe you came from a family that, for whatever reason, was unable to show compassion. Developing a compassionate mind does not require that our parents pass this on to us. We can learn this at any stage of life. In her book Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, Buddhist author and teacher Sharon Salzberg writes, “The first step in developing true compassion is being able to recognize, to open to, and to acknowledge that pain and sorrow exist.” This does not mean that we need to dwell in others’ suffering but simply acknowledge it.
One of the simplest ways to develop compassion is to find purpose in something where others will benefit—a compassionate act of service. Below, consider what purpose you can bring into your own life and something that will help others. For example, you might find purpose in volunteering for a few hours in your child’s classroom.
Goldie Hawn is an Academy-award winning actress and New York Times bestselling author of A Lotus Grows in the Mud and 10 Mindful Minutes. Since 2003, when she established The Hawn Foundation whose mission is to equip children with the social and emotional skills they need to lead smarter, healthier, and happier lives, Hawn has been working with leading educators and neuroscientists, among other specialists, to develop ways to promote children’s success in school and in life through social and emotional learning. The Hawn Foundation’s MindUP (TM) program is currently in the hands of more than 1,000 educators throughout the United States, Canada, and the UK. Visit her website at thehawnfoundation.org or follow her on Twitter @GoldieHawn.