New Year’s “Theme” – Being in the Moment
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.
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:
I wish you a wonderful, restful and productive week!