When you woke up this morning what is the first thing you thought about? Let me guess, were your thoughts racing as you reviewed all the things you wanted to accomplish? You may have even noticed that before you could even engage in one thought another one popped into your mind and interrupted the flow of the first one! Many people are so busy thinking, thinking, thinking and trying to see how much they can get done or checked off their list that they forget to feel and appreciate the simplest of moments and the beauty of the journey.
Think about it another way – this is July 9th, 2016 and there will never be another July 9th 2016 in your entire lifetime. Once it’s gone it’s gone. When you think about it that way it makes this moment, this day even more significant. When you go to sleep tonight will you reflect on the positive things that happened today or will you start perseverating on the million and one things facing you tomorrow and start building up stress in your muscles? If so, you may even need something to help you get to sleep as quickly as possible so that you can jump up and start all over again tomorrow. Is that really what life is all about? Is that how you truly want to live?
How would you choose to be remembered – as a person who couldn’t slow down or a person who brought their whole self to the experience? The first example is of a person who radiates stress and accommodates rather than appreciates others and believe me people know it. The second is a person who brings a calm, positive, productive energy to what they are doing. We want to be around them because we feel more valued in their presence.
The amazing thing is that we get just as much done when we take a deep breathe and ease into the day. In fact, our days go even smoother. We don’t misplace our keys, spill our coffee or run late to our first appointment because we have taught ourselves to breathe deeply, focus on one thing at a time and move in a more deliberate fashion. Each task and each moment, regardless of how mundane, offers a deeper significance to us. There is an art to becoming fully engaged in living. It is not something we are taught in school or even at home but we can learn it over time and it’s so worth the effort.
If you’re catching a plane there’s no time to loose. I get it. But for most things in our daily life it is not that critical if we choose to take two or three more minutes to engage our full attention to what we are doing yet it reaps great rewards to our emotional well being. You may be thinking – yes but this task is so redundant – I’ve done it so often that I can do it with my eyes closed. Maybe true, but do you really want to go through life with your eyes closed? Life can be as stressful as we choose it to be. Does it really, really make a difference if something takes a bit longer to accomplish if you gain a deeper appreciation along the way?
In mindfulness training we are first taught to listen to our bodies. When we are moving or thinking at warp speed it results in stress in some part of our body. Listen to your body it will tell you when you are pushing too hard and forgetting to focus on the moment. It’s kind of amazing that when we don’t recognize our emotions our bodies kick in to help us ‘feel’ the message that is intended.
Just breathe in deeply, hold it for a few seconds and exhale slowly. Try to do this a few times each day as a beginning practice and especially when you are feeling overwhelmed or super stressed. Today is meant to be part of a life journey not a fast trip to your local 7-11 Quick Stop!
Have a great few days!