Hey there! Hope you had a refreshing day yesterday.
In our definition of mindfulness, the first element is present moment awareness—which is exactly as it sounds. Being here now.
Over the next three days (or nows!), we’ll talk about pace, worry, and focus.
We live a mile a moment, don’t we? We’re always on the go.
Always something to rush to—somewhere else to be.
The first puzzle piece of present moment awareness is slowing the heck down.
Slow doesn’t mean boring. Or lazy.
Slow doesn’t [always!] mean late.
It means present.
Present enough to actually experience our experience.
Why slow down
Oh, golly, where do we start?!
It’s that old catch 22—we mourn birthdays and how fast the time flies, yet we will it on, wishing the weeks away. Moanday, Tuesday blues, Humpday, Friday eve, Friyay! Saturday! Soon-to-be-Moanday, Moanday …
Part of slowing down is trying to remove ourselves from what Eckhart Tolle calls psychological time. For the purposes of scheduling life, knowing where we want to be and when (note want, not need), it’s good to recognise time. Clock time. It’s one of the semi-useful things humans have created!
We’ll talk more about that tomorrow.
But, when we start to base our moods and thoughts and rushed actions on a day (Moanday) or a time of day (moaning?!)—we’re just losing a helluvalotta precious life hours.
So, slowing down means more life—because we’re not just living for the weekend.
Slowing down means longer life—it stands to reason that, when we’re not stressed and rushing about everywhere, our minds and bodies can last longer.
Slowing down means better life—it means we’re actually engaged in the journey, not just the A to P or K to V.
We must not allow the clock or calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery.
~ H.G. Wells
Even Moandays—miracles and mysteries!
Take a breath
The easiest way to slow down is to stop and breathe. How often do we completely shut off and focus on our breath?
Sleeping doesn’t count!
I mean stop in the middle of our day, in the middle of a meal, in the middle of a meltdown?
It doesn’t have to be a massive, obvious breath, but just conscious. Turn inward.
Breathing is one of those things central to living, it just happens, and when we hone in on it, we can’t help but slow down and experience the present moment.
In each breath, that’s all there is. Just that moment.
And, oh my, the precious release—in the mind, the body, and the soul.
Because, when we’re rushing, we’re not breathing—we’re panting.
When we’re rushing, we’re not thinking—we’re stressing.
When we rush, we don’t experience—life passes by in a haze of busy, stressy panting!
Side note—give this a go at some stage today. Just stop. Right now? Find a comfy seat. Hopefully, you’re already there! Close your eyes (after you read this!) and breathe. Even if only for 30 seconds. If you’ve got any aches and pains, try and consciously send your breath to those places. Feel the cool inhalation, the rise of your body, and the warm, delicious exhalation, the letting go. Do you feel any of the pain melt away?
Side side note—Even though some of our brains (mine’s one of them!) don’t have the foggiest idea about science, our bodies still know how to breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. How clever is that? Miracle and mystery!
Chill out time
Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed how much more life she had time for.
How many of you have been reading this post and thinking yeah, well, this is all fine and dandy, but it’s just not practical? Life is busy and it’s fast and there’s nothing we can do about that, we’ve got to run to keep up?
How many of you are made to feel guilty for taking a breather? Not necessarily by someone else—more than likely, you beat yourself up for having a break and spend the time listing all the things you should be doing, instead?
Yes, life is busy. Yes, I swear it gets faster by the minute. But, I think—this won’t apply to everyone, but think what it means to you—we can take on too much.
We can take on too much and it’s not always of value to us.
We’re going to talk more about values and defining what’s important in our not-too-distant nows.
Is there anything in your life that you just think “why am I doing this?” And, when you think of that why, really think—
Am I questioning this because it truly doesn’t have any value or am I questioning this because of my current perspective on its value? Our current perspectives are shaped by any number of things—our energy levels, our moods, our feelings toward the people, the tasks, the situations we’re surrounded by.
Try to remove any personal biases, just for the minute, and think—these things that I’m doing, that are filling my days and making them busy, which are really important?
Which ones could just lighten my load?
And, think about how much time you take for yourself?
You know the old airline safety instructions—fit your own oxygen mask before you help someone else?
Oprah says we need to be full of ourselves. Not in the way that society views that statement—full of ego. But, we need to fill ourselves up to be of best service to others.
And, just like when our car needs petrol—we need to stop to fill ‘er up!
What’s one thing you can do to enjoy your day?