I was listening to a podcast the other day when someone met Tony Robbins for the first time. If you aren't familiar with him he is like the modern day guru of personal development. He was hawking self-help before it was cool and likely had much to do with the fact that it went from self-help to the much more socially acceptable 'personal development'. Anyway, she was saying that when she was preparing to meet him what she wanted most was to be present for the moment. To no be so overly excited that she felt outside herself and the whole thing would be a blur. She wanted to get over her nerves and just be there to enjoy the moment and the conversation.
We hear about and talk about mindfulness and being present often but rarely do we make it a practice. It's hard, I know. We are so easily distracted. Our mind is always wandering. More so now than ever with the bombardment of social media, email, texts and a bevy off other things fighting for our attention. Our attention span is getting shorter and shorter and it's a direct result of the world we currently live in with smart phones, Facetime, Zoom meetings, you name it. We don't even wait to get into the office anymore. We are working from home. We are working from home even if it's off hours. We are all over the place and structure is harder and harder to find.
How do we get and stay more present in our lives? Living with intention is one way to do that. We need to intentionally take the time to savor the moments of our lives. The big and the small. When was the last time you sat down with a cup of coffee and just enjoyed it from start to finish. Noticing the smell of it and the warmth of the mug as you hold it. The taste and texture as you take those sips. The feel of hot liquid going down and most importantly, how much you enjoy the whole process.
I remember when we got married people had all kinds of advice about how to make the most of our day. Someone mentioned to me after our wedding that he made sure to stand back and watch everyone else having a good time and enjoying themselves. I didn't do that but I really wish I had. How awesome it would have been to have those few minutes with my new husband standing back and watching the fruits of all of our labor trying to make sure we put on a great party. And it was a great party. A lot of the day was a blur like most people say but I know it was a fun time for most people including myself. There's nothing I like more than being the Belle of the Ball!
How often do you sit back and take in your life? Just any given moment. Maybe when you are drinking that first coffee of the day or while you are driving to work. Or maybe you can take a walk after dinner and take in all the nature around you and just appreciate it.
When was the last time you looked around your house noticing how everything is laid out and all the decorations and the color of the paint you likely painstakingly picked out. It's so easy to take the things in your life for granted. Especially when you have a lot. In fact, I just recently had to get work done on my car. There was an issue with my brakes and it took me a week to get an appointment for service. I spent that week driving my husbands car and getting rides to places I needed to be. My car is now fixed and back at my disposal. It's the greatest feeling to have my car back. With the seat and mirrors exactly as I left them. With all my stuff right where it is supposed to be. And ready and waiting for me whenever I need it. Something I always took for granted but now have a new appreciation for. It won't last long though unless I intentionally live in a way that being mindful of these becomes part of my life.
This is why a gratitude practice is so important. When you are writing things down everyday that you appreciate it gives you more time to feel gratitude for them. Something most of us don't do. How many people do you are feeling grateful for a car that starts and can be used today? I wouldn't have either if I hadn't been without it for a week. But that is what helped to remind me to not take my car for granted. And to remember to count my blessings more often.
Another great way to live more mindful is to take a minute at the beginning and end of each day. I just got an Apple watch about six months ago and it has an app that asks me first thing in the morning to think about the day ahead. It's a great time to set your main intention for the day. Not only set the intention but think about how you will feel throughout the day and how achieving that intention will make you feel. It asks again at the end of the day to reflect on the day and think about how the day went. What were my favorite parts of the day? What am I proud of? What made me feel good and not so good? Think again about standing back and watching everyone at your wedding reception. View your day like this. What stands out?
And of course I couldn't finish this conversation without mentioning the number thing that helps with mindfulness and staying present. I'm going to say it so get ready. Yep, meditation. I have never been a fan of meditation myself. I did give it a try for about six months at one time in my life and still felt like it was a nuisance without getting much out of it so I gave it up. But I'm giving it another go. I'm doing it differently this time around. Instead of just focusing on my breath I'm focusing on certain words. I started at 3 minutes in the morning after making my coffee. I'm up to 5 minutes. And yes, it's very difficult. But I like it so much better this time around. I'm really enjoying the words I'm using to guide my meditation. What I'm doing is breathing in deeply while thinking of a word a want to bring into my life. Then I breathe out of my mouth and exhale a word I want to put out into the world. My words are wealth and service. I want to bring more wealth into my life by offering more service to the world. You get it? What are some words that would work for you?
If you can carve out just a little time I highly recommend it. Like I said, it's still a very new practice for me. My mind wanders constantly but when it does I bring it back to the breathing and these two words. Give it a go. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain except loving life a little bit more and realizing how much you already have going for you.
I'm actually doing a whole series on building a morning routine on my Instagram account. I go live a couple of times a week and am currently in week four. If you'd like to see that series head over to IG and look me up at the_hopefulist. Hope to see you there!
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