It can be very easy to live ahead of the time that we are actually in, whether you are super busy at work focusing on reaching a deadline, or experience anxiety about what life is going to bring your way, or are in a state of excited flux about the opportunities and possibilities that you can glean in life. These frames are very much forward thinking, planning, searching ways of being and existing in time.
Of course, having a goal, objective or even a perceived problem ahead are useful considerations when thinking about the direction we are going for ourselves and the actions to get there.
Maybe sometimes we spend too much time looking out ahead and missing the moments right in front of us. How much time do we spend plotting our own story-line instead or being in the midst of our experience a page at a time?
I arranged to go for lunch later in the week with an amazing friend of mine, who also has their own business. We generally spend a lot of time getting excited about the opportunity that we have in our roles and life, and often this lends itself to conversations of the future, of the things we can do with our business, a creative idea fest of the possibilities and directions we can take, planning challenges or activities to achieve together or alone, egging each other on. I personally love this kind of chat, the visionary playful nature of "thinking big" and putting a radar of positivity into the world, is a great personal fuel.
This week for lunch, however, we have pledged to focus our conversations and time to being in the present and in the moment and to bring ourselves back from floating off into the distance. The essence here is to join together in being grateful at where we are in the moment (probably eating some delicious food and enjoying a stroll in the sunshine). This now will be informed by the past I am sure, a reflection on the learning we have gained and experiences that take us to the present day.
If you look to far ahead, are you simply walking away from yourself?
I have been thinking a lot about this quote I heard by Raine Maria Hilke "the only journey you need is the one within". It has really resonated with some of the work I do with clients and indeed some of the experiences I have for myself.
When I heard it I got all excited (nothing new there) what a great little reminder, giving me a nudge to check in with myself and my focus! This last week I have reaped some really lovely benefits from considering this not just in my internal thoughts also by taking in the surroundings. Maybe I could have possibly overlooked these on a busier day. ...sharing a story of adventure with a little boy in the park, meeting a stoat head on and taking a second to suss each other out .. really noticing how amazing scrambled egg is... there are really too many to mention.
A couple of clients have said to me lately that they aim to meditate or follow mindfulness but struggle to do this in a focused and disciplined way like they hear from others, read in books or see on Youtube.
I completely get this, some days I am in the zone with sitting still and focusing to a still space, other times I am fidgety with connected-ness (usually because I am excited or inquisitive about something I have experienced in the day). You may find if your mind is full its a little harder to focus - whether full of positive stuff or things that are troubling you.
I just want to reassure people that Mindfulness and Meditation can be adapted for you and your needs until you grow into a space where it becomes easier (if that's your aim). The base of this is about aligning you with yourself for sometime away from the haze of just doing/existing in the business of it all. Being kind and checking in, within.
Here are a some other ways to experience I think you can begin to connect with inner peace and connection in a way you may find more accessible.
1) Self-Talk/thought - Ask yourself simple kind questions or make statements - How am I doing today? How am I feeling now? It's really nice when I feel calm for a moment now.
2) Walking in nature - ever so often stop and take in your surrounding - if you do a scan of your five senses you will definitely take yourself into the moment of being just where you are (Smell, taste, touch, sight, listen). Add a few deep breaths to this and you are going to be a Zen master!
3) Put something in order - this is for people who enjoy the connection between seeing something out of order placed in an order of your choosing. The key here is to notice how you feel during and when the activity is complete (for example a box of matches, books on a shelf, a puzzle).
4) Journalling - there are loads of fun ways to journal it doesn't have to be the next Pulitzer price novel for this sort of experience just let words flow even if they don't make sense, allow yourself to write for 2-3 minutes and pause.
You may be interested to read more about Schemas of Play in relation to finding activities and actions to engage with a calmer more present mind. Although these principles relate at the core to child development it is easy to recognise how we carry some of these as preferences in activities we may find naturally more calming or relaxing. If you have a read below I am sure you will be able to relate to a few here when you consider some of the activities you do as an Adult that you naturally find more comforting (This resource below was taken from Pinterest and cited by Handmadeplaces.co.uk).
The most important thing about having your moment of now, or moment of calm is that you do it through something that feels natural and enjoyable whether for a moment or as you really grow into a focus and connection with yourself you may learn to feel that this becomes a more natural and frequented place to be.