There are so many tasks throughout our day we deem unimportant but necessary to accomplish. Before we know it, a big portion of our day is spent “getting tasks over with”, and we miss out on many opportunities for enjoyment..
Eckhart Tolle, in his book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment says: “As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love—even the most simple action.”
There are simple practices that will cultivate the moment-by-moment experience that both the yoga text and Tolle are speaking about. Give this a try next time you clean, wash the dishes, dust, iron, sweep, or do any other tedious task:
- Take a few breaths and feel your feet on the floor.
- Scope out what needs to be done.
- Pick a place to begin.
- With each movement, watch how the object you are cleaning changes.
- Notice the state of your body. If you are uncomfortable, shift your alignment.
- If you find your awareness drifting away, reset your attention to what you are doing.
- Continue to notice each step of the process until you finish.
- Now, look at the end result and notice the changes.
- Check in and become aware of how you feel.
When you bring this deeper level of awareness to your activities, you will notice how much more there is to appreciate throughout your day. The smallest shift will open you to a variety of opportunities that enrich and uplift your life in a way that you could not imagine.
Let me know in the comments below how this simple technique shifted your experience accomplishing the task.
I was at a restaurant and a woman with two young children walked in. She ordered she sat down and made a phone call. Her children were on either side of her and they were served their food. With her cell phone to her ear, she ate her meal with her family.
Unfortunately this is a very familiar scenario.
The reality was: She was not attentive to her phone conversation, did not really taste and savor her food and was not present to her small children. This is how many live their lives and sadly, it considered normal.
We end up “doing”, rather than living.
In our rush to get it all done we miss out on our moment by moment experiences, true connection with ourselves and those who are with us. We do this at home, the car, office, our family and social engagements: Nothing is excluded.
When we participate in one thing at a time and are fully engaged we experience more joy in life.
Let me know in the comments below how multi- tasking shows up in your life? What could you do to make a small change?
We all have things that stress us out.
One of mine is rushing. It is important to me to be on time. When I rush, I notice my heart races, my neck tightens, I don’t breath and I get frustrated. What has changed over the years is simple- I do not rush because I make sure to leave enough time!
Many of us have knee jerk reactions that we have had for decades. We cannot force them to go away, but can make changes to avert the situation.
Often, we set ourselves up for stress and knowing what our hooks are is valuable information.
- Take a few moments and focus on your breath
- Think back and see what you react to. Here are a few examples- traffic, time, travel, hunger, put on hold.
- Track back to what happened preceding the reaction.
- Now make a list of those situations that set you off.
- See how you can make a small shift in behavior to avert them. It might be as simple as pacing yourself, or not allowing yourself to get too hungry (that is another one of mine!).
You will probably find that there are some that are constant in your life. When you realize this, make a few small changes, and you will be amazed at the results. You will experience more peace, calm and joy throughout your day.
Give this a try and let me know what you found. What changes did you make?
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.
Helping the mind remain calm and undisturbed is a lifelong practice. Often our thoughts are agitated from our reactions to other people.
A chapter in the yoga texts focuses on four categories of people and how cultivating certain attitudes will help.
Cultivate Friendliness toward the happy.
When someone gets something that they are excited about it, jealousy can set in. This only disturbs you, especially if you want what they have attained.
A shift in attitude to open up to another persons happiness can fill you with joy as well as leave you feeling calm and centered.
Next time your feel yourself feeling uneasy around someone’s happiness, take a breath and shift your thoughts.
Give this a try and in the comments below, let me know what happened. If you were unable to be open to someone's happiness, what do you think got in the way?
I heard a funny definition of balance: It is the place you pass as you go from one extreme to the other. There is much truth in that.
Why is it so difficult to live life in balance? What gets in our way?
It is our minds constant state of urgency and it throws us off balance. We end up “doing”, rather than “experiencing”. We tell ourselves that we have to or should get it done and we neglect other things that need our attention.
We live on autopilot and miss out on our day.
Everything we need to get accomplished throughout our day can be done mindfully. Balancing play, work, family is vital to living a full life filled with inner calm and joy.
It takes a commitment to change habits and priorities.
Try this: Turn off the computer and cell phone for a half hour and be fully present with family or leisure,
See how you feel. Let me know in the comments below what you did and how it worked.
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.
Throughout the day we encounter both challenging and joyful situations. Usually our focus gets locked on a specific aspect of our experience and we miss out on the range of what is in front of us.
There is more happening in each moment than we imagine and we have the capacity to embrace our experiences more fully.
1. Go outside (or look through a window), standing or sitting comfortably and look straight ahead at nature.
2. Focus on one thing that is in your line of sight.
3. Without turning your head, expand your awareness to the entire scope of what is in front of you.
4. Notice whatever subtle changes come about without getting caught up in thought. It could be a slight breeze, a shadow, an insect or bird, a small movement of a leaf or some other shift.
5. Take a few breaths as you continue to notice.
Everything in front of you was happening at the same time.
You can experience more joy and clarity in life when you live mindfully.
Try this and let me know in the comments below what happened. Did you see more that you first thought was there? Were you able to stay in the moment? How do you feel now?