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A Mindfulness Practice Inspired by the Changing Seasons

A Mindfulness Practice Inspired by the Changing Seasons

When you let the heavy things go, you can breathe a little deeper. But if you're having a hard time with that right now, use this mindfulness practice to make things easier. It'll help you let your thoughts go just as easily as they came. Less pressure to change, more freedom... to change.

“It’s not a matter of letting go—you would if you could. Instead of ‘Let it go’ we should probably say ‘Let it be.’” — Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Allow.” This is the mantra that's been bringing me back home.

When you feel trapped or swamped by the thoughts in your head, try this.

A Mindfulness Practice to Let Things Be, So You Can Be Free 

1. Say or think, “Stop.”

Literally stop what you’re doing, sync with the present moment, and take a deep breath or three before you do anything else.

2. Say or think, “Allow.”

This is your cue to be the witness to the thoughts. Just for this moment, be the one observing the thoughts. See that they're not you. You're the one looking at them. Pay attention while consciously affirming that you don’t need to change anything right now: Allow.

3. Visualize a river or stream in front of you.

Close your eyes. Imagine you're near the water's edge, near a large oak tree. You can be sitting on a bench or on the ground or standing there. Feel yourself there. Leaves are floating by on the water’s surface, into and out of your line of vision.

4. Visualize each of your thoughts sitting atop the leaves.

There’s one thought for each leaf, one leaf for each thought. As you notice a thought, positive or negative, see it spelled out in words, or portrayed as an image. Look at it. Read it. You’re not the thought: you're the one looking at it.

5. Visualize the “thought leaf” as it floats by.

The leaf, representing the thought, has come into your line of vision. Keep looking at it as it floats by, left to right or right to left. Eventually, it drifts out of sight. Let it come; let it go. You're a witness to the current.

6. Keep watching the “thought leaves” come and go.

Keep watching your thoughts, flowing with the current, until you feel at ease with them being “there,” and you being here.

Feel free to play with the sequence of this mindfulness practice so it suits you and the season of your life. It could take a few minutes or a few seconds. It could be autumn, winter, spring or summertime.

Allow. Just for this moment, you can let things be. You can see differently: from a distance.

. . .

Tell me:

Where could you use a little more... allowing... in your life?

Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I'd love to know!

With love,


P.S. Need a little more help letting go? Get my book Sleep Rituals for 100 at-home practices that are all about you and the present moment. It’s more than a book about sleeping better. It’ll help you feel better so you can live and love better. And that’s… everything.

Comments on this post (2)

  • Sep 30, 2019

    Maureen, I am so sorry for this pain and this news… I can only imagine how devastating this is for your family. My heart is with you and I’ll keep you and your niece in my heart when I meditate, I promise. It’s hard for me to say what the right thing is to say or do at this time. What I do know, no matter the situation, is that being there fully with all your heart and presence, is the greatest gift we could ever give someone else. Letting your niece know how valuable and treasured and loved she is by you. Letting her express everything good and painful, and just being there to listen and laugh and cry and be. I’m not sure what her specific situation is right now, but if there is a way to surround her or remind her about all the things she loves, that’d be a beautiful gift too. Sending love and peace your way… <3

    — Jennifer Williamson

  • Sep 30, 2019

    I have a 35 year old niece whose whole life for the most part filled with Hospital stays and Pain. She recently received a terminal diagnosis from Cancer and has been Hospitalized this time for the last 2 months. Please help me to help her to not worry. What to say or do to help. I can be a good listener.

    — Maureen Dobbie

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