I have spent most of my life in a hurry.
A hurry to grow up.
A hurry to find someone to find a boyfriend.
A hurry to get married.
A hurry to be successful and find a career.
Then I had kids. And I hurried even more.
Rushing from one stage to the next. One moment to the next. One goal to the next. I don’t even remember celebrating much. I was too focused on the future and what was next. And so I was always left unsatisfied and unfulfilled because I never allowed anything to “sink in”. I never enjoyed the journey because I was in such a hurry to reach the destination. Little did I know that the destination was the journey. The journey was the destination. It’s all of your destinations because the journey never really ends.
So while I was on the hamster wheel of life, waiting for a destination that would satisfy and fulfill me, I was missing out on life.
You see life lives in the moments. It lives in the sky and the birds. It lives in your children’s eyes and the hearts of strangers. It’s happening all around us - the magic and beauty of life and all we have to do is stop, slow down, and be.
This is the essence of being present or being mindful. Mindfulness is living fully in the moment. It’s all of you- all of your senses, all of your attention -fully experiencing all of the contents of the moment. Moments exist because they are meant to be experienced and honored. This is their purpose. When we hurry through the moments of our lives, we never fully savor and experience the moment we are in, only to skip quickly to the next. Then when we look back, it’s all a blur - one big chain of moments mixed in with past emotions and fears which create distortion.
It allows us to be aware of different angles and perspectives of life and people. It allows us to not get swept up by emotions and thoughts, so that we may respond to life rather than to react to it.
There is so much power in this way of being. The more calm and centered you are, the more access you have to creative solutions and the more open you are to see opportunities and take inspired action.
Anyone can be mindful when the sun is out and skies are blue. But holding that space when the storms roll in can be a challenge and for some - impossible. You could look at the impending storms and get yourself into a spiral of fear- What if I get wet? What if my roof starts to leak? What if my house blows away? What if the streets start to flood? What will I do? Or you could look at the storms and be in the moment, rather than in the what if’s because in this moment you are dry.
Whether you’re mindful or not, the storms still exist - they are the facts of the situation. But it is how we provide these facts meaning - how we interpret them, that makes all the difference. Being in the present is about seeing things for what they are - not what they could be, or what they were. Just what they are, in this very exact moment.
Mindfulness is something that must be practiced everyday. It is a skill that becomes a way of being. Here are some ways to practice mindfulness:
Notice your breath. Your breath is an easy and effective way to bring you back into the present moment. You don’t have to think to breathe, it just happens. It’s noticing this intelligence that grounds us and brings us back. Put one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly and just breathe and notice. If you have thoughts, just shift them back to your breath.
Bring awareness to your senses. Your senses are another effective way of bringing you back. Go through one by one and zero in on each one, bringing all attention to the sense. Challenge yourself and try to notice all at the same time.
Be around nature and children. Nature has a beautiful way of bringing you to stillness because it just is. A flower doesn’t think about blooming, it just effortlessly does it and does it with perfection every time. We were created from this same intelligence (remember your breath) and have this same capability, we just need to practice. You might not remember, but as a child you were present. Children play, they are curious and they just are. Get around children, play with them, imagine other worlds with them, and find yourself being present in no time.
Do a body scan. Our society is filled with external stimuli, whether it’s technology or consumerism, we are constantly looking outside of ourselves for acceptance, connection, and gratification and have lost our connection to our body. I have coached multiple people who don’t know how to feel or have never noticed sensations in their body. A way to begin to reconnect this mind-body connection is to do body scans, bringing attention to different parts of your body, noticing what it feels like - is it relaxed, is it tensed, etc. As you begin to do this often, you will become familiar with the sensations of your body, and what your body is telling you. Our body is constantly providing us with information, however we are often not present enough to listen.
Stop and notice your sensations and thoughts. After you have done the body scan, another practice you can begin is to simply notice what is going on in your mind and body on a daily basis and as situations arise in your life. What does fear feel like to you? Where does it live? What about sadness? Anger? Love? The more familiar you are with how you experience these emotions, the more you will be able to manage them.
Mindfulness has been a game changer for me as an entrepreneur and a mom. I have been able to be incredibly emotionally balanced for both pregnancies and through the ups and downs of owning a business. In stillness you will find yourself and what you’ve been searching for all along.
About the author….
Monica Reyes is a Spiritual Success Coach who focuses on working with working moms and entrepreneurs. As an attorney and owner of a large law firm, she learned the power of mindfulness and meditation and its effect on her life, her staff and people around her. She ultimately left the practice of law to follow her passion. To find out more about Monica’s new community, the Mindful Modern Mama, please visit: http://www.monicaereyes.com/mindful-modern-mama/
For any questions on mindfulness or meditation, please email her: monica@SpiritualSuccessCoaching.com