It’s Monday: Do You Know Where Your Mind Is?

Right now. This minute. What are you thinking about? Are you focusing on this post or is your mind elsewhere? Maybe you’re thinking about your to-do list or recalling or your visit with a good friend yesterday or waiting to hear from a colleague? But chances are that you’re not attending to the present moment, simply because most of the time we don’t.

This lack of present moment awareness, which afflicts us is affectionately called “mindlessness.” Studies show that we spend the majority of our time thinking about the future or past. However, the moments in our life which matter most are the ones in which we show up. Remember the last time you savored playing with your child, eating a tasty meal, walking in nature or taking a long, warm shower. Now, that’s satisfaction!

Since I just returned from a two-day conference on mindfulness, it’s on my mind and I plan to keep it there by posting about it. As a therapist, mom, woman and person, I think mindfulness is one of the best remedies for creating more joy and less stress. Research on mindfulness shows that it improves our health-body, mind, heart and soul, and that it may increase longevity.

But don’t take my word for it, try it yourself. Spend 15 minutes each day sitting quietly and focus on your breath, flowing in and out of your body. It may help to notice the rise and fall of your belly, your chest or sensations of the breath around your nostrils. Don’t judge your experience. Accept whatever happens. When thoughts occur, gently return your attention to the breath and observe its cycle from inhalation to exhalation.

If sitting still proves too challenging, choose any activity and pay attention to the accompanying sensations. When your mind strays, and it will, bring your focus back to what you’re doing. Like a lion, the mind runs wild but with time and practice, it can be tamed.

As always, let us know how it goes. All questions and comments are welcome.

It’s Okay to Slow Down

That’s what my Dove chocolate wrapper said. “It’s okay to slow down.” That’s what my husband said after I dumped soil all over our porch instead of in the pot. “The plants aren’t in a hurry. They’ve got plenty of time to grow.”

“Okay I said,” not to my husband but to the universe, God or whatever you consider to be your higher power. I get the message.  Take a breath. Smell the flowers. Enjoy the beautiful spring day. What could be more important? Honestly, nothing but sometimes I am totally convinced, perhaps you are too, that getting things done is more important than savoring my life. As Wayne Dyer says, “We are human beings not human doings.”

So, for the past 24 hours I’ve been making a “conscious” effort to slow down. When my friend phoned Sunday morning and said she was “too pooped” to meet for coffee, I fixed myself a cup of tea and watched the bunnies playing outside my kitchen window. Then I showered with the new shampoo and soap I’d bought (because I like the smell), gave myself a mini-facial, and sat on my front porch admiring our beautiful crabapple tree with its amazing pink blooms. When I look at those blossoms, I remember that nature doesn’t strive or strain but just unfolds moment by moment.

I wish I could be more like our tree-standing still, soaking in the sun’s rays, content with just being. Not needing to answer e-mail, voicemail or my next text message. Not feeling compelled to check off another item on my to-do list. Letting life unfold through me-peacefully, gracefully, deliciously. Living and loving the moment I’m in.

This week take time to “slow down.” Spend 15 minutes each day focusing your attention on what you’re doing instead of rushing to get done. If you’re eating, pay attention to the texture, smell and taste of your food. If you’re outdoors, notice the colors, how the air/sun feels on your body and the sounds . Immerse yourself in the experience of NOW. Share a pix of your “NOW” moment below or on our facebook page.