#beingthemoment – Week 2

Arc by Mike Green is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Creative Commons License
Arc by Mike Green is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

New Year’s “Theme” – Being in the Moment

Part 2

Time to check in on Week 1 of my “New Year’s Theme”  – being in the moment.

Last Sunday I wrote a blog post about the idea of learning to be present in the moment by focusing on one new strategy each week.  I planned to use the information presented by Sara Harvey Yao in The Seattle Times“A present you give yourself, and others:  being present during the holidays.”

Week 1:  Intent.  So, how did it go?

Well, I’m a bit surprised to report that it made a difference.  Just thinking to myself about what my intent was – when doing a chore, especially – actually made that task more meaningful for me.  Read:  less boring, more fulfilling.  For instance:

  • Doing the dishes – intent:  to come back into a clean and organized kitchen.
  • Scooping the cat box – intent:  to give my cats a clean place to eliminate their waste.
  • Going for a walk with my younger son – intent:  to move my body and to spend time with my son.

(. . . and so on, I’m sure you get the idea!)

I think the most surprising aspect of this strategy was how it shaped my thinking as I was doing the task.  It’s like I felt more connected to the rest of my life, instead of just going through a list of things that needed to be done so that I could get back to my “real” life.

I felt more connected to my life.

Yay!

“Houston Tea,” photo by Theresa Barker.

As a side note, I had a big event at the end of the week,  traveling to visit a long-time friend in another part of the country.  If you’re like me, you dread air travel these days.  Checking your bag or carrying it on, waiting in the TSA security lines, boarding the plane and being packed in like sausages in a can, sitting next to people who seem more cranky and disagreeable than ever, etc.  It occurred to me that I could apply my “intent” strategy to the whole travel experience.  So, I thought about how much I looked forward to seeing my friend again and spending time together.  Going through this thought process, afterward I felt less anxious and less pressured as I went through the airport and made the plane trip.  (In fact, I’m still in Houston writing this post – my plane goes home tomorrow!)

So:  week 1, focus on intent:  Yes, I want to keep doing this.  It worked!

As a bonus, I would sometimes turn this strategy to writing.  At some point in the day, I asked myself, “What is my intention about writing at this moment?”  This led me often to jot down some ideas to write on, to pull out my notebook and write for five or ten minutes on a prompt, or to open my laptop and review a story that I was planning to edit.

It felt great.

On to week 2!

Second week:  Pay attention to details.

Week 2:  Pay attention to details

From Sara Harvey Yao’s article:

Pay attention to the details — When you are stressed or moving too fast you can miss the details of the season. Take a moment or two to pay attention to the details of your experience, such as the color of the lights, the tone of the music or the expression on a loved one’s face. Noticing the details will naturally guide you to the present moment.  (From A present you give yourself, and others:  being present during the holidays – Sara Harvey Yao in The Seattle Times.)

Okay . . . I have tried this one before.  What do you see, smell, hear, touch, taste, and feel?  I’m a little skeptical I can make this work without becoming distracted.  – That I can use this strategy to feel more present in the moment.  Yet, knowing how much of a difference the Week 1 strategy made, I’m going to give it a try.  I’ll report next week on how it went!

Your experience of mindfulness?

Do you participate in mindfulness?  Perhaps you have a meditation or spiritual practice that has made your life more open and restful.  I would love to hear about it.  In your writing or in your photography or artistic work, do you find a way to tap into that mindfulness?

I’ve heard from a few folks about their experiences, and I would love to hear more.  Please feel free to leave your thoughts, or include a pingback to your own blog:

https://tjbarkerseattle.wordpress.com/2017/02/26/beingthemoment/

I wish you a wonderful, restful and productive week!

#beingthemoment

Winter Barn, photo by Theresa Barker.
Winter Barn, photo by Theresa Barker.

25 thoughts on “#beingthemoment – Week 2

  1. So, after reading your post last week, I actually came back later and wrote a post it note of what summed up the idea for last week, I then put that on my board on my desk. For me, honestly, step one was just remembering what step one was even supposed to be. I’ve done a post it note for this week too. I will say this, I sometimes use my camera phone to focus on the details. Something about taking it out to take even a simple photo makes me slow down.
    Happy and safe travel home!
    Cheers,
    Amy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done, my friend! This is wonderful! I think your idea subconsciously inspires others. I was quite in the moment in almost all that I was busy with. On Friday, we went to dinner with friends and once the conversation started, I was only there. Not even my 2 phones could distract me… at least not the usual (when it’s just family – lol!) On Saturday, for the little one’s sports day and later at the rugby game (those rare moments I am convinced to go to the stadium, I didn’t have the phones for the most part. I think the best part was at Ballet; or maybe ballet expects that. 🙂 It was an awesome 2 hours with such awesome music and fabulous dancing. I didn’t even get to sit in front of my laptop the whole weekend so I have to catch up with reading blogs from today. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Anne, I’m so happy to hear you were able to step back slightly from that frenzied pace that we all have these days, especially with demanding bosses and very active family lives. Thank you for sharing your insights with me!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Always a pleasure to share with you. It’s for my selfish reason knowing your input adds value to me. Thank you for that! Oh, I almost feel defiant the way I am these days. Haha.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Dahlia, thank you for you letting me know you liked my post! It’s an experiment for me to talk about my process and my “behind the scenes” life. But I’m really feeling reassured by people’s warm responses. 🙂

      Like

  3. This is definitely something I need to do. We become so wrapped up in what has to be done, that we just go through the motions mechanically. My ongoing to-do list looms beside me right now. I love how you tied it into writing. I am going to open my mind differently than I have and see how it goes.
    Amy mentioned her camera in her response. I use my camera to refocus when I get blocked in my writing. I love looking at things in the narrowed view but I never considered actually just focusing on the task and the intent.
    Poured coffee–intent drink it and mull your suggestions. Thank you, Theresa.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. These are excellent strategies that are completely achievable – just a subtle shift in thinking can make the world of difference. Being Mindful is something that I have recently been blogging about as well. Crocheting has given me more than warm blankets and scarves, but very recently I was feeling a bit off which led to my post and newest project – Mindful Crochet – https://tanglewoodknots.com/2017/02/28/mindful-crochet/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true Thank you for this great post – especially the cat litter hint – it is difficult to see beyond the dirty litter – sorry kitties I will try to be more attentive to your needs. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, gosh, Tami, I’m so excited to hear about Mindful Crochet. I do knitting myself from time to time, and the handcraft is a wonderful way to mindfulness that I hadn’t considered specifically. Great idea! – and your comment about the cat litter boxes made my day. Thank you! And I’m looking forward to reading more of your work as a follower on your blog! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure they might think that. Cats are so observant and sometimes quirky! We have one cat who follows us around when she wants a nap with a human person – nudging us toward the bedroom. ! 🙂 What are your cats’ names?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Speckle and Toast! What creative names! Do you mind if I were to write a story on my blog sometime using their names? 🙂 Our cats are named Pickles (all black) and Mittens (black-and white tuxedo). They are from the same litter as well. – but were feral-rescue cats. So, fairly shy/skittery, but have become more friendly with us over their 11 year lives! 😉 Thanks, Tami! You brightened my day!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. hurray! I will keep you posted! – and if you have photos of them you’d be willing to let me use (with photo credit) – just let me know! my email address is tjbarkerseattle at gmail dot com.

        Liked by 1 person

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