“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” – Buddha
Hello, SOTGC community,
“Mindfulness” is a popular word to throw around but a difficult one to understand, let alone put into practice in daily life. It is the notion of being present, and therein lays the challenge: what does “being” present even mean? The Buddha teaches us not to dwell on the past, not to worry about the future, and simply be in the moment, so perhaps “being present” is just this: let go, don’t fret, and focus on the right now.
I tend to loop on the past, chastise myself for flaws and faults real and perceived, and anxiously anticipate the future. It’s exhausting. Then I’m peeved at myself for said looping, chastising, and anticipating, spiraling into what I like to call the “cone of shame.”
But who wants to live an over-thought, over-wrought life? Reading about mindfulness, I discovered the notion of “being present,” and it made me think about a lesson learned during my former legal career. The running joke among lawyers was that 50% of our job is simply showing up – for court, for clients, for meetings.
Being present is not unlike this practice of showing up and mindfully engaging; I need to start showing up and being present in my whole life. When I write, I write. When I read, I read. When I teach yoga, I teach yoga.
Herewith, seven tips for incorporating mindfulness into your life:
1. Move slowly and purposefully. Savor. Participate. Enjoy the process. Life is not a race!
2. Stop multi-tasking and try uni-tasking. Focusing on one activity at a time ensures that you are fully present in the moment and will actually complete a task.
3. Schedule some self-love. Massages, manicures, running or yoga, or an hour with a book are not indulges. Taking care of yourself is more important than working!
4. When you are with someone else, actively listen. Don’t just wait your turn to speak; be present and really listen.
5. Take a moment each day to be grateful. Try a mini meditation: Sit still, close your eyes, and start to repeat the phrase, “I am grateful for … “ for one minute.
6. Forgive yourself and others. Move on!
7. Drink from the cup of life! As I’ve quoted before from Auntie Mame, “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!”
Being present without worrying is the kicker. The only way that I have been able to dissolve worries about the past and future is to remind myself that every minute that I worry about something that already happened or might happen is a minute that I’m stealing from my present. Why rob yourself of presence and participating in your own life? If you don’t show up, who else will?
What are some other ways to incorporate mindfulness into daily life at work and at home? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.