Posted by Ellen Sichel on November 1, 2012
This evening I have planned my formal book launch of Splash Into Calm. I have prepared, delegated, and today there are a few last minute details to be accomplished. After that, all I can do is to let go of the results and enjoy the event.
This is easier said than done. I will track back in my book to a relevant chapter from July—the chapter on worry and grace. The chapter focus is on worry, even for the enjoyable events. Below is an excerpt:
We not only worry when hosting an event, but also with each and every plan and person with whom we are involved. Worry envelops us and it spills out into our relationships. “What will happen if my two-year-old doesn’t get into the best preschool? I know it will affect his/her growth and future college options!” I enjoyed the perspective of comedian Tina Fey in her book Bossypants: “My ability to turn good news into anxiety is rivaled only by my ability to turn anxiety into chin acne.” Yes, worry has a definite spiral, right down to our complexions!
This is a common occurrence. We are so busy worrying that every detail will go as planned that we are not present for the event. Letting go of the results is possible when we remain in the present moment. Tonight, that is will be my focus. Embracing each moment and experiencing the support and interest in Splash Into Calm. I will let you know how it goes!
Let me know in the comments below how you deal with worry. Does it get in the way of your enjoyment?
Posted by Ellen Sichel on February 16, 2012
Try the Calming Effect of Mindful Eating. This New York Times article focuses the effect of mindful eating on your health.
The article encourages us to become aware of the food we are eating. It suggests that we use our senses to see the colors and textures, to smell the aroma and to really taste what is in our mouths, one bite at a time.
Often we do not even taste our food because we wolf the food down quickly, watch TV or are in conversation.
This creates much of our issues with indigestion because we are not even aware when we are full. We also lose out on the pleasure that food can bring us.
Food is another way to practice showing up for your life. It is an opportunity to allow what you are eating to be your focus, which will keep you in the experience of the moment. You will be able to get more pleasure savoring your food.
Let me know in the comments below about your eating habits. Do you watch TV? Do you eat while driving?
Posted by Ellen Sichel on December 26, 2011
Much of the time we are not present with what we are doing, whether it is a task or a conversation.
In our activities we our body is with us, but that is about it. Our mind is either in the past or future, taking us away from experiencing what is in front of us. At times it is out of habit and other times it is our choice. Either way, we are not where our feet are planted.
- Take a breath
- Feel your feet on the floor
- Use your senses: Focus your eyes on what you are looking at or focus your hearing on your conversation.
- Truly be with what is happening in the moment and when you drift from the task at hand, take a breath and use your senses to bring you back.
Let me know in the comments below how this worked for you. Were you able to bring yourself to the moment? If not, what do you think happened?
Posted by Ellen Sichel on November 28, 2011
There are times when our lives are overwhelming and things are not going as planned. It is during this time that gratitude helps to soften what seems never ending.
The challenge is finding gratitude in the midst of frustration, fear and uncertainty.
We forget that we have had uplifting experiences in the past, no matter how minor. The sweet, small events we have had are often overshadowed by the negative.
You do not have to feel grateful to be grateful. It can be a decision and it will help make a shift in your attitude.
Try this simple practice:
- Close your eyes or have a soft gaze.
- Bring to mind some experience that you had in the past that you enjoyed, no matter how small.
- Stay focused on that experience, while taking a few breaths.
- With each slow, deep inhale and exhalation, say the words Thank You.
Let me know in the comments below if this helped reset your attitude. Were you able to take a few moments to try this? If not, what do you think happened?
Posted by Ellen Sichel on November 17, 2011
My husband and I went for a walk in the woods to see a waterfall about a mile away. What began as an easy walk soon became an uphill climb!
As we took in the beauty around us as well as our leg fatigue, we heard a couple behind us complaining about how difficult the path was. They kept debating about continuing on. As we got toward the end, the couple asked us to check out the waterfall to see if it was worth finishing the trail.
It was pretty but nothing unusual and we reported this to the couple. They decided to turn around and complained to each other once again.
I was thinking about how they failed to see the beauty surrounding them throughout the hike as they focused on the difficult path and destination, neglecting the moment.
As we push toward our target, we can easily get trapped into only looking at the goal and missing the entire journey.
The final goal might be exactly what was expected or a disappointment. Either way, think about how much is missed when the focus is on the future.
Enjoy the journey: It is as important as the final destination.
Let me know in the comments below what goal you focus on. Can you stay present and enjoy the process?
Posted by Ellen Sichel on November 10, 2011
We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations- Charles Swindoll
When I look back at what I considered to be my most difficult times, I realize that those experiences propelled me to change and grow.
It seems to take impossible situations to make us take a look at our lives and reevaluate our priorities.
It is much easier to see things in hindsight then while we are in the middle of the experience. It could take years to see how we or others have developed from past experiences.
Look at those in your life who have had a positive impact on you and you will find that they have become the person they are from all of their life experiences, including painful situations.
There is great freedom when we can clearly see the shift that occurred and to focus on the synchronicity in life.
Let me know in the comments below if you can see how a difficult situation has shaped who you are today. See if you can look for the synchronicity of past experiences and let me know how they affected you.
Posted by Ellen Sichel on October 17, 2011
The purpose of meditation is to relax the body and quiet the mind. Think of your mind as a jar full of liquid. If you keep pouring more in it will overflow, making a big mess.
First we need to clear our thoughts so we have an empty vessel to reset our attitudes and outlooks.
Meditation is simple, but not easy. Simple, because all you do is concentrate on a single point to focus. Not easy, because the minute you try to quiet your mind, you see just how crazy it is!
Every morning, try this for a few minutes:
- Get in a comfortable position- it can be a chair, the floor, or the bed (dangerous as you will probably meditate yourself to sleep!)
- Focus on your breathing, without changing it in any way- simply notice you are breathing
- Find the most noticeable part of your breathing cycle: For example-The expanding and relaxing of your belly, the breath moving in and out through your nose, or your full breathing cycle.
- Keep focused on that area.
- If your mind gets busy, gently and kindly guide it back to focusing on your breath.
- Practice this daily and work your way up to 5 minutes.
- Keep practicing, even if you do not think it is helping. I promise, it will!
Let me know how this worked for you. If you did not even try to do it, what do you think is stopping you?
Posted by Ellen Sichel on October 13, 2011
I walk my German Shorthaired Pointer daily and I am awestruck by her ability to completely focus on what she sees.
There is one house that consistently has bunnies, which are her favorites. She stops, lifts her front paw and straightens her tail. No matter what else is happening around her she stays in full point, just staring. Then she will move forward slowly, without disturbing the bunny. She takes one little step at a time while stopping in between.
There are times I want her to walk more quickly toward the rabbit, but she is unmovable. She teaches me about complete focus.
The ability to be absorbed in the moment is a life-long practice. For the pointer, it is a natural instinct, but for humans I think we need to constantly remind ourselves to notice what is around us.
Now, when we pass the house with the bunnies, I too focus and look and see if they are out. I really pay attention and am aware of details that I never saw before.
I guess you can teach an old human new tricks!
Let me know in the comments if you are able to notice what is around you.
Posted by Ellen Sichel on September 29, 2011
I was having a conversation with an elder and he told me that he was often thinking about past events that impacted his life. He told me few stories and they were all about wrongs that he felt were done to him.
This man has had a wonderful long life with so many gifts, yet his focus is on the negative events.
I asked him: If it was painful when it happened years back, why would you want to continue to re- live the experience over and over again. It wasn’t fun the first time!
We all have experienced unpleasant situations and often we focus on and remember them more than the pleasant ones. Our negative experiences stem from either something that was done to us, something that we did, or something that we had no control over. We perpetuate whatever feelings we had and bring them into the present day.
Our reality is created by our mind.
If we would focus on the uplifting and happy events, we would live with more gratitude.This would bubble over into our relationships and experiences, helping us to stay present in the moment, fully participating in our daily life. We could live with my peace, ease and joy.
It's our choice.
What do you want your focus to be today? Let me know in the comments below.
Posted by Ellen Sichel on May 23, 2011
Many times the items on our to-do list are done mindlessly on auto-pilot. We try to get our errands out of the way so we can enjoy the rest of the day.
We rush away part of our day and we weren’t even present for it. How much time do we spend on a daily basis getting our errands or tasks over with?
When we live this way we close the door on opportunities to enjoy ourselves.
The mundane day to day living is just as much as a part of life as the sports, luncheon or vacation you are participating in.
Try this the next time you are in the supermarket:
- Go to the produce isle.
- Stand and look around taking in the total scope of what is in front of you.
- Walk around and focus on the colors, textures, shapes and smells.
- While going down the other aisles, continue to focus on the displays, colors, shapes, people you pass and whatever else comes into view.
- When checking out, look at your items as you put them on the counter.
Notice your state of mind after you finish.
Let me know in the comments below what your experience of shopping was. Was it different from usual? Did you notice anything new? If it was a challenge, tell me what happened.