Something kind of weird happened to me today. I got a pretty late start because I had a late night. Sometimes I have issues sleeping, so that’s not uncommon. I woke up around noon-ish (don’t judge me. I’m an artist and we do that sort of thing), ate breakfast or rather, brunch, and played with Pooh, my little toddler friend for a couple of hours. Then I headed to my office to put in a little time at my customer service gig. When I went to log onto my computer, without thinking, I keyed in the password to my old work computer…a computer I haven’t touched or even had access to in almost a year.
It freaked me out! First of all, it was just plain strange. Second of all, I typically make every effort not to think about my old job or anything related to the company because my experience with them at the end left a bad taste in my mouth. But the unusual occurrence of completely operating on autopilot got me to thinking; What else am I doing out of habit, with no regard to my circumstances in the here and now?
I don’t think I’m alone in having the habit of operating in a reactive space based off past experiences and future concerns. To some extent I think it’s safe to say we all do. But what if that habit is about more than passwords, routes to work or getting a cup of coffee first thing in the morning? What if it’s about how we move in and experience this world? What are we missing if we don’t actually live in the present moment?
I’ve been enamored with the concept of mindfulness for years. To paraphrase, mindfulness is practicing the art of being fully present in each moment. Many of us spend our time fixating on the past, or worrying about the future. So much so that we miss what’s happening in and around us in the here and now. Our focus on the past and the future, whether consciously or unconsciously puts our bodies in a constant state of stress. Many times, the past memories our minds automatically wander to are not good ones, and future dwellings are about what can go wrong. When we focus on the present, we send a message to our bodies that we are safe and everything is OK right now.
Our nervous system and our brain synapses can relax, giving us the peace we crave. Stress hormones decrease, along with our heart rate, while our detoxing and digestion abilities increase. Living in the now gives our bodies permission to let go. Mindfulness doesn’t have to be a big production of meditating and being still, although it can be if you want it to. Mindfulness to me means slowing down. It means letting ourselves live as children do: without regard to time, or agendas, or limitations. It means being. Being in the moment, mind, body and soul.
I hope you give yourself the gift of being in the moment today. You deserve it.
Just breathe…and be…and smile. 🙂
What do you think about mindfulness and meditation?
If you practice, what benefits have you noticed so far?