It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. – Seneca
Before I begin, let me clarify the difference between Consciousness and Mindfulness (at least as they relate to my posts in this blog). For me, conscious living is living in a way that is more informed, more true to your values (whatever they may be) and more present (as opposed to sleepwalking through the day). This post deals primarily with the third of these branches of conscious living – presence or mindfulness. Those of you interested in living a more conscious life are most likely aware of the concept of mindfulness (if not scroll to the bottom of this post for some great links).
As I work to become more conscious and present in my daily life, more often I find myself noticing that I’m not present, rather than actually being present. I guess you have to start somewhere and perhaps being aware of not being present is the first step to being present. So I have started to utilize conscious reminders throughout my day when I notice my mind (or body) wandering off to something other than where I am.
– When I find myself doing anything in a rush, I stop and consciously continue the task slowly, with my attention on on the task at hand.
– When I experience a craving, whether for sweets or another distraction, I notice the craving and instead of unconsciously (or consciously!) responding to it, I use it as a reminder to refocus my attention to the present.
– Whenever I hear myself, either mentally or out loud, that something SHOULD be a certain way, I try to stop, remove the judgement from the situation, and see things as the are rather than as I think they should be.
– Whenever I feel my self becoming anxious or frustrated throughout the day, I take it as a cue to take a few deep breaths and return more calmly to the present.
– And recently, whenever I am talking to someone, I try to remember to use the interaction as a reminder to be a more active listener (thanks to this great post on the Art of Simple).
Once I notice myself drawn away from the present (which is still probably one out of every hundred times I don’t notice at this point), I remind myself of my commitment to be more present by saying, “Be here now.” This simple mantra reminds me not to berate myself for forgetting to stay present, but simply to return my attention to the present. It reminds me that, typically, whatever thoughts have pulled me away are not as deserving of my attention as where I am right then. And it refocuses my attention on what is important, this moment, this task, this person in front of me.
“Be here Now.”
And for one sweet moment, I am.
What about you? Do you have any reminder throughout your day that help you remember to refocus on the present? Or any helpful mantras to share?
Thanks for reading!