My four year old daughter has now mastered how and when to push the pause button on the television remote. Usually this action is taken so as not to miss her favorite show when needing a potty break! Children that age are so eager to experience EVERYTHING that they become desperate not to miss ANYTHING. Whether it is ‘push the pause button!’ for the potty break or ‘five more minutes’ at the playground that they are asking for, they are, in their own little way, fully experiencing the NOW or engaging in the present moment.
It occurred to me that as adults our moments are filled with so many thoughts, responsibilities and tasks, that experiencing the NOW or present moment almost requires us to “push the pause button” on everything else going on around us, and even within us. While experiencing calm in the midst of the storm may be reached by some who have perfected the art of meditation or enlightenment, most of us are still looking for ways to carve out snippets of time and space to experience being in the present through quiet and uninterrupted meditation or prayer.
A wonderful tool for living in and between the two worlds of EVERYTHING and NOW is mindfulness.
Mindfulness allows us to continue in our day to day activities of human ‘DOing’ to experience human ‘BEing’. Practicing mindfulness is the art of being fully present with yourself in whatever you are doing or experiencing, without having to step away or out of your life. As busy women, we often delve into the much admired ability to multitask – it makes us feel productive, important and allows us to feel like we are getting a lot done. After all, that is what is encouraged in our culture – the yang energy of doing, doing, doing. Being productive feels good! It feels like action! We like the kudos we get from our accomplishments being witnessed and we like checking things off our To Do List. Have you ever added something to you To Do List after you did it just so you could check it off? We all have! The problem with staying in the energy of yang is that eventually, it depletes. And more importantly, it diminishes experiencing the fullness of Being in the NOW. Has this ever happened to you? You are driving somewhere and your mind wanders and then all of a sudent you notice you don’t remember the last few minutes of your driving and wonder how you drove safely without being aware of driving at all? That is the opposite of mindfulness. You didn’t fully experience those moments, those moments in time are gone and they cannot be retrieved.
One thing I hear people say all the time is “there isn’t enough time” or “time flies”. We all have the same twenty four hours a day. And we all have thoughts, responsibilities and tasks that fill every hour of each of those, but we also have the ability to slow down. To slow down time. We slow down time by experiencing it as fully as possible. By being mindful. Remember those long, endless summers of our childhood? We can recapture some of that feeling if we choose to live in the moment, and not live in the past where things cannot be changed and not live in the future thinking constantly of what happens next – of our To Do List. Being fully in the moment has the magical effect of slowing down time.
Another benefit to mindfulness is our peace of mind. When not eternally engaged in yesterday and tomorrow, not in the Doing but rather in the Being, we allow our minds to slow down, and make room for peace. Experiencing peace in each moment. Then expanding that peace to being mindful of the task at hand – whether that is washing dishes, bathing our child or taking out the trash. Cultivating the ability of mindfulness in all aspects of our lives allows us to push our inner pause button – we can still be in the world, and do all the things we must to live in this world, but we are experiencing it in our way, and at our pace, rather than the hectic, sometimes even frantic pace of our culture.
How can you ‘push the pause button’ today and allow mindfulness to penetrate your Being from the inside out?
Expand your peace!
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