In this ‘Information Age’ we are faced with a barrage of information. We know, and are expected to know, too much that ignoring this overwhelming flow of information seems extremely challenging, if not impossible. So what do we do? We give in to our distractions – the news, social media distractions, the fears, the rat race. We keep our minds so busy with things we cannot do anything about that we ignore ourselves, our heart and the beings in our immediate environment.
I have a 30 minute commute to work. I spend all my time with my head down staring into my iPhone going through my personal emails – most of them being coupon deals that I subscribe to just in case I miss out on a “fabulous” deal. I browse through the news networks to stay abreast of what’s happening “out there” (no matter how far “out there” is). I quickly scan through my social media feeds. And if I am not caught up with an interesting piece of news or Facebook status updates, I sign in to my work email to see what “crisis” I’m managing today (not that I can do anything about it during my commute).
In becoming “information hogs”, we have somehow mastered the art of ignoring the “present”. When was the last time you experienced the here and the now, the cool breeze on your face, the goodness and kindness of others who take you to work and back? When was the last time you thought of the farmers that toil through the year to make sure you have food to eat? When was the last time you watched squirrels chasing each other? It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?!
Last Monday, I decided I will get into my heart and experience the present. I made sure that at least for the first 30 minutes I will appreciate, thank and respond with kindness to every being that I interact with. Notice, I said “being” and not just people because you can learn a lot from nature. Here’s how my week went when I allowed myself to to feel more:
- I admired everything around me – the trees, the flowers, the birds, and even the construction. No one’s going to think you’re crazy if you stopped to smell a flower – I did, on my commute back from work one day.
- I wished ‘good morning’ to everyone I interacted with and even those I made eye-contact with – in the elevator, the public transit driver, fellow passengers. It got awkward for me sometimes as some people just aren’t morning people so I just shared a smile and I got a smile back almost 100% of the time. The key is to make sure you actually wish for them to have a “good morning”.
- I observed people around me and wished whole-heartedly that they have a good day.
- Whenever my mind tried to judge someone based on cologne, clothes, hair-do or shoes, I stopped it right there and refocused on the kindness of their heart, or a beautiful feature of their face, maybe.
- I breathed deeply and often and felt the breath in my lungs. It sounds meditative but believe me, it will make you feel alive and appreciative of the wonderful world around you.
Performing this mindful routine every day of the week (some days were better than some others) made me appreciate the importance of being in the present. I was optimistic no matter what crisis came my way and my positive attitude was contagious around work.
Eventually, I got to work and spent the first 20 minutes doing what I normally do during my commute to work but at least I made time to mind my “mind”.
After all, it’s the small steps that make a big difference!
Happy Monday Everyone! 🙂
What’s this week’s Mindful Monday resolution look like for you? Inspire me! Check mine out on my Mindful Monday Chalkboard.