It seems the topic of mindfulness is at an all-time high. There have been numerous books written about this subject over the years; many are thought provoking and chock-full of ways to integrate mindful living into our work and lives. In my own life and work, integrating meditation, and just being quiet, into my daily practice has lowered my blood pressure, enhanced my awareness in the present moment, and helped me become a better coach, consultant, and writer.
Recently, I subscribed to the new periodical Mindful which is a tremendous collection of articles, stories, and practices highlighting how to take time for what really matters in life. I love it. There was an article in a recent issue written by Christine Carter, a well renowned sociologist and author, offering a few insights which hit home – 5 Steps to Finding Your Groove.
There are three key points from this article, which are not only factual; they are also very liberating!
1. Being busy and multi-tasking is not the most effective way to get things done. We need to learn to SINGLE TASK. Our minds are not meant to switch gears – back and forth – simultaneously. This is exhausting and makes us very mistake-prone. When we slow down, focus, and do one thing at a time; we become more effective and efficient.
2. Doing nothing is in fact doing something. For some reason, we are conditioned to think that ‘doing nothing’ is a waste of time. Thus, we try to fill every last second of the day with activities….whether this is posting on Facebook, reading, checking email, or even making a list of things to do! Most of us have a hard time sitting still and letting our minds just go. Seldom do we daydream, look at the stars, watch the birds, or just stare into space without an agenda. Yet, that is precisely what we need to do to refuel and recharge. We do not have to have an official vacation to take some time off. If we simply ‘turn it off’ for a few minutes a day, we will enable our brains to release our most creative energies.
3. Often less is absolutely more. This is counter what our world teaches us. We are taught that success equates to more money. We want more money so we can buy more stuff. We want more Facebook ‘likes’ as we have been taught that equates to greater popularity. And the list goes on and on. Yet, when we embrace that what we have and what we do – may already be more than enough. We are liberated and we can embrace life as it is.
What would happen if we took a short fifteen minutes every day to just breathe and let our minds rest? What could happen if we embraced the sunrise each morning with quiet gratitude for the beautiful day which greets us? What if we made a commitment to ourselves to slow down and truly embrace the present moment? This may be the greatest gift we give ourselves.
AMEN!! In my life, when I haven’t prayed, meditated, breathed deeply, or just looked up into the sky for a bit, deliberately “unplugging,” I feel diminished in some crucial way. I really am glad I have given myself permission over the years to NOT try to do it all, be it all, etc. To slow down and enjoy the present moment…aaahhhh…