Posted by Ellen Sichel on October 11, 2012
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.
Posted by Ellen Sichel on February 20, 2012
Lately, I have seen articles about the positive impact of mindful eating.
The term can seem uninviting, but really eating mindfully is an invitation to deepen your appreciation and taste of food.
When we eat mindfully, we are in the moment and are better able to know when we are full. We end eating less, aiding digestion and enjoying our food much more.
Take a few minutes and try this:
Pick one type of food that you normally eat. It can be a raising, pop corn, chocolate or some other snack.
- Take one piece and first feel the texture in your hand.
- Look at it on all sides.
- Smell it and take in the aroma.
- Take a breath.
- Now, take it to your lips and take a small bite, without eating it.
- Experience the flavor, texture and the effect it is having on you.
- Slowly chew it as you continue to experience the entire sensation associated with what you are eating.
- Continue to finish the piece of food in this way and notice how you feel.
Let me know in the comments below how this worked for you. Were you able to stay with the process? Did you find out anything new about what you were eating?
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 January 23, 2012
There are times that our thoughts take over and our mind gets out of control. We end up obsessing about people, places and things with no way to stop. Not only does this take us out of the moment, but it is absolutely exhausts us.
Sometimes we feel guilty about our thoughts. Remember, a thought is not the same as an action.
When the mind complicates things, we need a simple antidote to help us.
Next time your mind gets out of control, try this:
Say to yourself: “It’s just a thought” or “Thinking”
This will help bring you back to the moment so you can get centered. You might find you need to remind yourself of this often throughout the day!
Let me know in the comments below how this worked for you. If it did not help, what do you think got in your way?
Posted by Ellen Sichel on December 29, 2011
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?
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 December 8, 2011
I hear the term “killing time” and I always wonder why anyone would want to kill time, when that is life going by.
It is our perception that what is happening at the moment is not worth our time.
Usually we are waiting for something and have time to spare before the next activity. Learning to get still and be at ease with waiting will bring us back to the moment, giving us the opportunity to fill up and reconnect with ourselves. Even a few breaths can make a difference.
Time goes by no matter what the event. All we have is this day and when we are able to embrace whatever we are doing with the same interest as those activities we enjoy, we get so much more out of life.
Next time you want to kill time remember that time is all we have. Savor each moment and enjoy!
Posted by Ellen Sichel on December 5, 2011
Holiday parties, eating, shopping, travel, visitors, end of year work are a few of the activities we participate in.
We socialize while holding our drink and food, really not tasting anything or hearing what is being said. The stores are busy, with decorations adorning the windows, walls and ceilings, yet we rush right by them.
These are mostly positive experiences, yet we end up stressed and tired.
Slowing down does not mean not going shopping or to parties. What it means is that while you are participating, be present.
- When at a party before biting into your food take a moment to look at the color and texture, smell the aroma, and then take one bite and savor it. You will probably eat less!
- While shopping, take a moment to stand still and look at the decorations, colors and designs. Take it all in before going on with your shopping.
Let me know in the comments below how this worked. Were you able to stop for a few moments and be present? If not, what do you think got in your way?
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 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.