Staying mindfully in the moment – or miss them all together!
Our son recently got married and when we sat back afterwards and people started asking us for photos I realised that I had been so in the moment with the whole day that I had not taken ONE photo!!
Coming from a family whose grandmother made sure we posed for at least seven photos every time we met for a birthday or anniversary this was completely out of the ordinary.
Being in the moment is about having all your senses switched on and experiencing each second as the moments unfold. When you are in the moment you smell the smells, feel the emotions, hear the noises, and catch the glances and smiles. It means occasionally locking eyes with people in brief moments of deep and personal sharing and feeling like you are part of something bigger than yourself.
Sometimes we get so caught up in life and it’s busyness and about worrying about the future that we forget to enjoy the moments. Life is so fast paced now that we can be trapped in the cycle of always thinking about the next thing.
You may have just dropped the kids off to their sports training and your mind is already turned towards what is happening for dinner and getting them to do their homework. You race off to fill that gap when they are there to fit something else in. You go back, pile them in the car and go home to make sure all the nightly routine is done without a hitch and then you fall into bed wondering where the day went.
Did you really even connect with them? Did you have a conversation about their day and REALLY listen? Did you give them a hug?
You might go for a daily walk like I do. Some days you find yourself planning the day ahead and being so in your own mind that you walked past someone without even acknowledging them or you didn’t see the flock of black cockatoos pass overhead on their daily journey, or wave to your friend as they drove past on their way to work.
On days like that something is usually weighing heavily on your mind and you walk in auto mode with your head down and eyes directed on the ground, not seeing or hearing anything going on around you. You are home before you know it and don’t feel any more relaxed than when you started out.
How many times have you missed the moment because you have run to get your camera or have been distracted by fumbling to quickly get the phone out so you can take a photo of the moment?
You end up asking everyone to “do it again so I can take a photo because I missed that!” Then you miss it again, only seeing it through the mechanical lens with your mind thinking about whether you got it all in or if the light is good enough. Everyone groans because they have moved on to the next moment already.
Some moments are so fleeting in their spontaneity there is no way to recreate it. That moment your child took their first step, witnessing the look on their face when they won the race they were in, catching the wildlife moment on your safari trip in South Africa.
What makes you feel more alive?
Being in the thick of the moment, seeing, hearing, touching, smelling OR looking at life through the lens of a camera?
Sure, get that photo that reminds you of the moment you were part of which will jog your memory of the more juicy and memorable moments you experienced. Just don’t let it take away from living the moment in the moment or worse still missing it all together!
Here are 5 steps for staying mindfully in the moment by focusing on your breathing:
Step 1 – Notice how you are breathing.
How you are breathing is a pretty good indication of whether you are in the moment or not. If you find yourself holding your breath you are probably off with the fairies thinking about something that has happened or worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet. Your teeth may be clenched and your body tense.
Step 2 – Look up and look around
Put the camera down and look at and listen to the person you are with. What are they wearing, what are they saying, how are they feeling?
If you are on your own and in auto mode with your head down and your mind is caught in a tangle of what if’s and what for’s, look up and look around. Where are you, what is going on around you?
If you are at work, stop thinking about what it is you need to do next and start listening to and focusing on what is happening right now.
Step 3 – Take a deep breath out
Stop. Take a deep breath in and fill your belly then let it out at your own pace. Feel your shoulders relax, your jaw slacken, your neck release. Feel yourself settle into your own person again as you become aware of what is happening in the moment.
Step 4 – Continue with what you are doing.
Step 5 – Notice and correct (Repeat Steps 1 – 4)
Throughout the day just take a moment (no pun intended) to repeat the steps. Being aware or mindful about your breathing helps you to cope with stress, regain composure, and stay calm during the day to be fully in in the moment. There is no right or wrong. Whenever you remember or notice you are caught up in the daily pressure of life gently refocus your awareness on your breathing and go through the steps.
In reality it only takes less than a minute to bring yourself back into the moment.
ABOUT YOUR BREATH
Breath is life. It is a fundamental necessity to living. To get to know and understand your breath is to strengthen your relationship with life itself. Your life!!
Breathing is our link to survival, without it we cease to be able to live in our physical body.
Did you know as adults we take up to 30,000 breaths a day when at rest and up to 50,000 breaths if you add in some daily exercise.
How many of those do you take notice of?
You are invited to contact me to find out more.
My passions are nature, people, and building cultures of cooperation, harmony, sharing and reverence for life. I enjoy working with people to help them understand themselves and others so they can reach their full potential in life.