Last week: Move your body
As I walked each day with my son this week, I tried to keep in mind the intent of my walk (being with my son and also enjoying the outdoors) and to think about the details around me (the feel of the path under my feet, the droplets of rain on my face, the sound of my son’s voice). I was also breathing and trying to notice how my body was feeling.
All we have is our bodies, right? The experience of our bodies – whether we are cold or warm, whether we can breathe freely or with effort, whether we are experiencing pain or comfort – is a powerful influence on our lives. – More than we realize, at times.
Over the past four weeks I have been practicing one strategy at a time to help me become more mindful and to be in the moment.
- Week 1 – Intent: What is your intent as you do a task?
- Week 2 – Details: What are the little details of what’s around you?
- Week 3 – Breathing: Take 3 deep breaths when stressed.
- Week 4 – Move your body: Take a walk or stretch to take a break from feeling overwhelmed.
I am exploring six strategies from an article on mindfulness over a period of six weeks. Each Sunday evening I have been posting an update on how that week went and a description of the next week’s strategy. I picked the hashtag #beingthemoment as a reminder that I am striving to “be” the moment, moment to moment, and not rush through my life or be too distracted to enjoy the time I have.
Week 5: Claim white space
Claim white space — Before you start drowning in the activity of the holidays, create some air pockets for yourself with white-space time. White space is time blocked on your calendar with no preset agenda. It’s the time on your calendar where you get to choose what you do. Always start your white-space time with a few deep breaths to become present and then ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” Or “What am I inspired to do?” White space allows you time to give yourself what you need. (A present you give yourself, and others: being present during the holidays – The Seattle Times)
Okay, confession time: I don’t do very well at scheduling time for myself. I suppose more often I squeeze in time for that little bit of writing, or a quick walk to the library to pick up books. But I don’t generally linger at the library – or set aside time to hang out there. My daughter said to me the other day, “Let’s go to the library and pretend it’s a bookstore, and browse!” and I thought, what a great idea.
But this week’s strategy reminds me that there are a couple of things I’ve wanted to do for a while and have yet to do them. One is to go see the current art exhibit at a local art museum, the Henry Gallery at the campus of the University of Washington. The other thing is to take the light rail train down to South Seattle and do a self-guided tour of the public art at each station.
This week I’ll try to put “white-space” time into the calendar for those things. And I’d like to borrow Sara Yao’s questions, both about my own state of mindfulness, and about my writing:
- What do I need right now?
- What am I inspired to do?
How about you? Do you use writing to be more mindful? What do YOU need right now? What are YOU inspired to do?