Tag Archives: mindfulness

Step Forward

I don’t think of all the misery but of of the beauty that still remains. ~Anne Frank

It’s easy to get trapped into thinking about all of the things that aren’t going the way we want them to go.  The media seems to reinforce all of the negatives going on in the world, and many times the conversation at work and dinner leads to the challenges of the day.  These thought patterns can serve as a shield from all of the good and beauty in our lives and the world.  In my own life this leads to me taking things for granted.

So for this week, it’s my goal to remember the beauty and to recognize the many positive elements in my life.

May our weeks be filled with good and beauty.

We establish boundaries throughout our lives.  Sometimes these boundaries are physical boundaries, like the chain link fence that the daffodil below is working its way through:

Breaking Boundaries

Even more frequently we establish boundaries based upon our culture and conditioning.  We build assumptions that serve us well as we navigate the world, but also limit our perspective and the opportunities that we allow ourselves to experience.

This week I will focus attention on understanding what boundaries and assumptions I approach my day with and work to eliminate as many as possible.  The goal?  To be open to the world as it is.

Will you join me?  If so, I’d love to hear about what you discover.

Have a great week everyone!

I don’t know about you, but it’s super easy for my attention to scattered into a million different directions, all within the same second.  A recent macro photo of a Tillandsia serves as a visual reminder of this:

Tillandsia

Just as there are many things that can grab my attention from the present, there are many varieties of these plants (a Google image search highlights this point).

As I begin my week, my intention is to practice mindful awareness each moment.  I’m sure that I’ll grow many mental tentacles through the days, more than could ever be represented in a single photograph, but that’s why they call it a practice!

May your days be filled with simple awareness and happiness. Have a great week!

It’s the experience that matters

Happy Runner

Focus on what it’s like to be outdoors, to feeling your body move, to the relationships you may have built through running. These are experiences that can be reproduced with every run—you don’t need a good finish time to produce them. By shifting the focus from results to running itself you’ll feel empowered.  

Jim Taylor, Ph.D., a sports psychologist and author of Prime Sport: Triumph of the Athlete Mind, The Bliss List, Runner’s World.com

from Runner’s World Quote of the Day email, March 18, 2013

I’m into a good groove and consider myself fully recovered from my calf strain.  The process of recovering from an injury is never easy, and if I focus on the end rather than the process, it’s even more painful.  It’s like I’m trying to escape from the injury, or worse, speed up time. Time is the most precious gift of life, and if we can focus on our current “location” and not wish we were “somewhere” else we can lose minutes, hours, days, weeks, even years.

I know, it’s happened to me.  I’ve spent way too much time wishing I had a different job, new skills, more friends, less friends, better physical capabilities, a stronger memory, more creativity – you name it, I’ve wished for it.  I wanted to escape being me and before I knew it there I was, in the same place I was when I started thinking about my escape plan!

No more.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I have what I need, and that what will make me happiest is to be okay with me.  As stated in the quote above, I want to focus on the process, and less on the results.  Life is a journey and if we’re always thinking about the outcome, which is inevitably in the future, we can miss the journey.

Running is a great way to get into the current moment.  In my experience, it’s not unlike meditation, only moving.  When I silence the music and take off the watch (or hide it since I can’t live without the post-run data), and don’t worry about pace or time or even weather, and I focus on the process of running, the rhythm, it really is amazing.

Photography also is helping me get into the current moment, but I’m finding that I need to be careful and not focus too much on the result of the picture.  I’m still a rookie and use automatic settings most of the time, but I’m finding that it’s when I forget about the picture and settle into the moment that I get some of my favorite images.

Below is a chart (click here to access the article from which I pulled this graph – there’s also a great TED talk that accompanies this information on the page) that supports some of the above comments, as it shows that people are happier when in the present moment than when their mind wanders:

I’m extending the concept of “mind wandering” to “escape,” but I think that’s relevant.  If our mind isn’t in the present moment, we are escaping.  Our bodies haven’t moved, but our reality is significantly altered.  I haven’t researched the methodology or dug into the data that produced the chart, but I can say that this is consistent with my experience.

I do understand that there are real, dangerous and painful circumstances from which many people do need to escape, and that I’m lucky to not have to deal with that type of pain.  Yet, I’ve still found myself wishing for something else.  It’s not easy to stay in the present.  I think that’s why people who try to live mindfully call it a practice.

What do you think?  Do you struggle staying in the present?  Are you happier when you’re able to stay in the present?  Do you have any tactics you can share to help others stay in the present?

Thanks for stopping by and reading through this post!