Many of us can relate to operating on autopilot without giving much thought to the task at hand or the variety of choices we have in any given day. Often our attention gets pulled away from the present moment by circumstances around us, and our own harried thoughts concerning upcoming appointments. So, even though our mind and body occupy the same quarters, they aren’t necessarily focused on the same thing at the same time.
For instance, we may be physically present at dinner with friends but be mentally distracted by reviewing the presentation we are giving at work tomorrow. Similarly, we may engage in texting with another friend who is not at the dinner table which distracts from our current companions. Clearly our body is there, but our mind is not.
Multitasking is not uncommon or always avoidable in some situations due to the many exterior demands and electronic devices that vie for our time. However, by becoming more mindful and aware when our attention has been averted, we can bring it back to the event at hand with much more regularity.
Just by giving ourselves a 10 minute break and taking deep breaths while noticing our breathing, is all that is needed to help center us in the present moment. The more we regularly take this time-out, the more we will desire to continue or expand upon it, and the easier it becomes to keep our attention where we want it.
Recently, I received an email chain letter that contains a note that was written by an 83-year-old woman to her friend which I thought was applicable here. The abridged version is shown below.
I’m reading more and dusting less. I’m sitting in the yard and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I’m spending more time with my family and friends and less time working.
Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure. I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them. I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good china and crystal for every day.
“Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now. I’m not sure what others would’ve done had they known they wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow that we all take for granted.
I think they would have:
- Called family members and a few close friends.
- Called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles.
I like to think they would have gone out for a Chinese dinner or for whatever their favorite food was.
It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew my hours were limited. Certain letters that I intended to write one of these days and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband and parents often enough how much I truly love them.
I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, tell myself that it is special. That every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift!
If you are interested in being notified when the upcoming Mindfulness Center opens in Scottsdale, AZ, and for a schedule of events being offered, please email me at (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be included on the mailing list. I will be running a variety of workshops and book groups along with other like-minded facilitator’s.