Harmony is the orchestration of musical chords that produces a sound that is pleasing, however, what does it mean to live in harmony? Did you know that when your intent is in harmony with the universe, things start happening?

We spent the month of February talking about ways in which we can orchestrate parts of who we are into a more harmonic state. We talked about music being healing, exercise and stretching, gazing into nature, embracing our uniqueness, giving attention to the seeds we plant and what really matters.

Most of these are mindful and require empathy for self. To put focus on self can be an arduous task, especially when we are in constant movement of caring for someone else. To have harmony, empathy is also important.

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In a Psychology Today article entitled, “Achieving Harmony and Increasing Empathy,” the author shares that harmony and empathy go hand-in-hand. He writes that “harmony is balanced understanding that cannot be forced and it transmits greater harmony to others.” Building up harmony is similar to learning how to relax. You cannot force it.

Mindfulness is something we can do to build harmony and learn to relax! Just sit, be still, accept and don’t judge – that is the hymn. But it is a hard song to sing, right? The importance of mindfulness and its principles is about living in the present moment, living in the now. I do believe, though, it is a technique and concept that is often misunderstood.

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Jon Kabat-Zinn, an American professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and Center for Mindfulness tells us that mindfulness is moment-to-moment nonjudgmental awareness, cultivated by paying attention. Mindfulness arises naturally from living.

The real focus is on awakening, on coming to some insight or wisdom about our true nature. Without that, we cannot get at the real source of our suffering. Mindfulness is also about compassion towards ourselves and others. About not being distracted or asleep, it is about being awake; to ourselves, our experiences, and to life.

With mindfulness, we can examine more closely where our scale may be tipping and how to balance, and yes, live more harmoniously.

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Incorporating Nature Into Mindfulness 

At Hope Grows we talk a lot about nature, aromatherapy, and meditative and mindful activities that are therapeutic. Incorporating nature in your mindfulness practice can be healing. American essayist and naturalist, the late John Burroughs, said once, “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.” Going into nature, focused, can help with empathy for self. By allowing the interaction that nature provides for us – and, I might add, without judgment – is an easy way to relax and be harmonious. We just have to allow the process.

Other ways for a more relaxing and mindful approach are Meditation and Aromatherapy. To sit quietly and focus on breathing as it goes in and out is a good step towards a meditative routine. There are many meditation techniques and finding the right one that works to clear your mind is worth exploring.

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Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses the essential oil from natural plants. Some experts say that the scent molecules from the oils travel through the olfactory nerves to the limbic system of the brain and impacts the amygdala, which is the emotional center of the brain. So, whichever way you choose to add harmony into your life, try something that is going to help you feel balanced and if you need to, belt out a tune or two. One last thought, “Sing as if no one is listening, dance as if no one is watching, and love as if you have never been hurt.”

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