Here is an alternative. Ease into your day. Unless there is a crying baby that needs tending or the call of nature heads you into the bathroom, take a moment to sit on the edge of your bed and repeat the heart exercise. This time, consciously slow your breathing which will take your heart along with it. Allow thoughts of ease and grace to flow through like a gentle stream. Set an intention for your day, that the details fall into place, that you will be led to the right place at the right time. Imagine meeting the right people who will enhance your life and you, theirs. See miracles in whatever form. Allow your intuition to guide you.
Time is a mental construct. As a species, we have decided what it means. Sometimes it seems as if it speeds up or slows down, depending on the activities we are engaged in. If it is a ‘have to’ obligation, the hands of the clock (remember analog clocks?) move at a snail’s pace. If it is a joyful immersion, it is as if it happens in the blink of an eye. Those are the experiences to savor.
The reality is this moment is all that exists. The past is behind us, and the future has not yet been born. Can you live in this precious moment, in joyous anticipation, rather than heart pounding dread?
Mindfulness is one doorway to the former and a way of quelling the latter.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, is the author of Wherever You Go, There You Are, and the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) claims that “The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.”
· Remind yourself when pulled into the past which is generally where depressing thoughts are formulated, “I am here and now, not there and then.”
· Anxiety nags at us, telling us that because the future is uncertain, it is something to fear. Make a list of what you can and can’t control in your life.
· As simplistic as that might sound, consider how often throughout the day, particularly when in the midst of stress inducing circumstances, you hold your breath. Breathe consciously.
· Observe what is around you. Remember the childhood game, “I spy with my little eye”? You can adapt it to, “I spy with my mindful eye,” and then state what you see around you.
· Engage in object awareness. Hold a flower, stone or strawberry in your hand and experience it with all of your senses. Attempt to describe it as if to someone who has never seen it before.
· Full sensory eating. Pick a favorite treat and smell, see, taste, touch and hear it in silence.
· Wash the dishes or fold clothing with total attention to what you are doing.
· Take a walk. This too can be meditative as you focus on each step as a distinct movement. A labyrinth can be an effective tool to assist in slowing your movement.
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”