'Stop and smell the roses' is an expression most will have heard, but how often have you done it; literally or figuratively? It’s amazing how we can be so busy in our lives that we don’t take even 30 seconds to simply just still the mind and be present in our own lives.
J Neville Ward wrote “Death helps us see what is worth trusting and loving and what is a waste of time.” This is no doubt true but what if instead, throughout our lives, we were tuned in and turned on to what is truly important to us? You can be.
This week I had a sudden recollection of a conversation I’d had with my chiropractor a number of years ago. He would always ask me to recount how my neck/shoulders/back felt at various points throughout the day. As much as I’d try to remember, I discovered I was going through my days not really present, like driving on autopilot, when you suddenly wonder how you got here with no memory of the route.
I used to talk about my brain thawing after a few hours of sleep, because I’d usually waken up in the early hours of the morning with absolute clarity about what actions I needed to take the next day, often getting up to write lists or emails. Then the starter pistol would go off the next morning and I’d start spinning plates again.
With constant fog brain and a dull sense of unfulfillment, there were rare moments when I was awake where I would achieve clarity, usually when I had my annual break from the rat race. Then I started to take time to deliberately still my mind.
If you’ve ever tried meditation in the traditional sense you’ll know it’s incredibly hard to sit still and not start drifting back to your thoughts, starting with how uncomfortable you are feeling sitting still, you’re soon thinking about the shopping list or a disagreement you’ve had with someone and then you realise you’re deep in thought, defeating the purpose.
Alternatives are activities that you enjoy that don’t take much thought, or require a singular focus. Personally I like yoga, the kind where you hold stretches, because there’s just enough movement and discomfort to keep me in the moment – deep breaths are necessary to distract from what I’d describe as a cathartic borderline pain. This is another form of meditation.
You can also start to leverage moments in your life that are currently frustrating. In a world where companies think they’re giving great service if they answer 80% of their calls in 20 seconds, what if you take that 20 seconds for yourself, tune out to the music, and just focus on your breath – letting any thoughts that come up drift on past. Do the same at traffic lights, in queues, waiting for the elevator – you will be amazed at the restorative effect.
We have gotten so used to identifying with the thoughts in our mind that we think we are that voice in our head. Sure, it’s a component of who we are, but if you identify with it alone, you will miss out on the clarity that comes from your inner knowing, your inner self, the real you.
In my posts the central premise of my writing is to encourage the reader to be who you were born to be. When you are present in the world without all the hang ups and misconceptions about yourself that you’ve collected through the years, and all the ‘rules’ of the family, community, country that you live in, you are a person who feels inspired, driven to action, fulfilled. Present.
Can you imagine going to work with people who are actually present? Not on autopilot thinking ahead in the conversation, truly listening and – not only that – they are people who are passionate about what they are doing, inspired to be there.
Productivity would shoot up, engagement would be a foregone conclusion, customer satisfaction and profits would swell beyond anything we see today.
It’s great that you’re taking a moment of your day to read this. How about you take another just to take a deep breath and look around you right now, right where you are sitting. See the colours? See the details? See people’s faces? Hear the sounds? Keep breathing. How does your body feel? Any aches or pains? What about the inner you, can you feel into it? Just observe and be present for a moment in the world you are in. Now go have a great day.
This article was originally published on LinikedIn.
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