Years ago, I remember watching an energizer battery commercial with a bunny playing a drum, demonstrating the power of the battery to keep the bunny “going and going and going…” This was how I lived. I ran my life, as if it was a race; trying to get everything done before reaching the finish line. I can’t tell you what was at the end of the line, because I never got there. It often felt like, just as I was getting close, my list of to do’s got longer. Unlike the bunny who kept going and going, I was ready to collapse by the end of the day! I went to bed feeling physically exhausted and woke up just as tired.
The funny thing is that as I raced from one activity to the next, I was receiving all kinds of signals that I needed to slow down. Sometimes, it was my tense shoulders yelling “NO MORE!”, and other times it was the quality of my interaction with others; which were often filled with irritability, an impulse cry, yell or go into hibernation. It wasn’t until I came down with a sinus infection that wouldn’t go away that I finally got the message. I needed to slow down and smell the coffee.
When life gets overwhelming, confusing or challenging, pause and notice where you’re placing your attention
I say that when we’re unhappy, worried or overwhelmed we get busy doing, fixing or trying to control what’s happening. We live in our heads and forget that we have a body that holds wisdom and heart that can respond with compassion. We’re out of balance and we can’t see it. I’ve learned that the more we intentionally pause to connect with our body, mind and heart, the more we’re able to respond in ways that healing and compassionate.
Everyday whether it’s sunny, cloudy or rainy there is vibrancy and beauty all around us.
Life is a miracle and one that we often take for granted. Not because we’re selfish or bad but because the nature of the mind is to get caught up in thinking, figuring out, fixing or looking for what’s next. When we pause to connect with the life that’s right here, we’re practicing mindfulness. We open our senses with the intention of connecting with the vibrant life that is right here. This helps us come into balance with life as it is instead of some image of how it should be.
Here’s an exercise to shift out of auto pilot. For the next week make it a point to stop and connect with the life that’s right here. Pick something from this list and make it a point to pause, breathe and receive:
- In the morning or at sunset pause and watch the sunrise/sunset. Take it in as body, mind-heart experience. As you watch what do you feel in your body, mind and heart?
- When you’re getting ready in the morning, pause and really look at yourself. Allow love and compassion to arise in your heart for this body, mind and heart that is truly a gift.
- Listen and take in the sounds of nature. Feel your ears receiving sound. Can you feel the vibration of sound in your body? The different tones and fluctuations?
- Close your eyes and feel the warmth of the sun on your skin or face. Where do you feel it? What sensations arise? What emotions?
- Gaze into the eyes of a loved one and allow yourself to see and be seen. Let the love you have for this person arise in the space between you. Send love with your eyes..
- As you engage in activities, try to be mindful of the experience. If you’re washing the dishes, feel the water on your skin, the weight of the dish in your hands, the smell of the soap. Be there for your lived experience.
- On your way to work, look around and take in your surroundings. Pause and really look, name three things you see. This helps you bring presence and mindfulness.
Intentionally pause throughout your day to practice mindfulness for a fuller, vibrant and more balanced life
May you be well…