"You can't put a $ sign on peace of mind"
The title is a line from one of my favourite country songs and as I’ve been working harder recently to keep my mind and my body in the same place I'm starting to really listen to the lyrics. Sounds easy enough although ever since I’ve become a mother my default mode has been autopilot. More often than not my body may be occupying a seat at my children’s sports events or my hands may be on the steering wheel driving to said events but my mind is stuck in the middle of activities that are happening later that day and before I know it I’ve missed what was right in front of me. I found I was all to often worrying about the future or punishing myself for things I had or hadn’t done in the past and as a result I was missing out on what was happening in the ‘NOW”.
I’m not going to lie it is hard work focusing our thoughts on what is happening right in front of us. My mind I have noticed is exceptionally busy and it takes daily practise to keep it from constantly wandering. Mindfulness involves actively listening, observing and being fully engaged in whatever is present. When you are really connected to what is happening in this moment you really do get a lot more joy and in turn create less anxiety or stress. Of course being fully present in every moment is near impossible but if we try to at least be present when it really counts then thats when the magic happens.
Focusing on the now for me means things like when I have my first cup of coffee in the morning I take the time to really taste it, I breathe in the smell and hold my mouthful for a second longer it also means it doesn’t have to be reheated several times as I enjoy it while it is still hot. When I sit down to help my children with their homework or tuck them in at night I am not thinking about what I am cooking for dinner or the washing that needs to be folded my mind is 100% focused on being in that moment. I wait for them to break the embrace not vice versa. I listen to what my husband is sharing with me about his day without thinking about what I want to say next so that all of my attention is fully on what he is telling me. As we are often so busy even our conversations are had with bodies present but minds somewhere in next week.
Practising mindfulness doesn't mean you push back against your worries as they will only get stronger - “What you resist persists”. Negative, jealous, upsetting or other distressing thoughts are always going to gate crash it’s about finding a way to not let them ruin your party. Your thoughts are like a passenger next to you on the bus. You can’t push them out of the window but you can accept that they are there. Let them be on the journey with you but not up the back with you and the cool thoughts up the front where they can’t bother you. Shift your focus from your internal thoughts to the world around you. Notice the grass beneath you. Notice the sounds you hear. Give whats in front of you, your full attention.
We are always in such a hurry to get to the next task or event that we forget to enjoy what is happening right in front of us. We often say “I can’t believe how fast that time has gone” However when we are truly present in our lives and wring the joy out of every moment we live with less regrets, blank spots and are ready to move on to the next moment as we have exhausted the last. I say go smell the roses and be where your feet are literally!