There are so many reasons not to do it. You’re busy, overloaded, and tired. And who has the time?? You’ll get to it tomorrow, for sure. If putting together excuses for not engaging in your mindfulness practice today were actually a mindfulness practice, you’d be all set. The issue is, what you’re trying to make time for might not be reasonable for you today. But, that doesn’t mean there’s no room for mindfulness. As we talked about last time, wherever you go, it’s right there with you, which makes it hard to come up with an excuse not to try this weekend’s “no-fail” mindfulness challenge.
Mindfulness is about focus. It’s about intentionally placing your attention in a specific direction, thereby strengthening your ability to do so in non-meditative settings. And yes, that is a superpower, in case you were wondering, and it just happens to reside within you right at this moment. The best part is, you don’t need any special equipment or permissions to use it. It’s on-demand and unlimited, and it works wherever you are.
Your “no-fail” mindfulness challenge this weekend is to work with what you’ve got. Meet yourself where you are, so to speak. As you’re out and about, doing your thing(s), hit the pause button somewhere along the way. Doesn’t have to be for long, and you don’t even have to stop moving physically, but let your mind settle – on the details of a tree, on the sound of the traffic outside your window, on the aroma of a delicious meal before you dig in. Anything you are experiencing with your senses can connect you to the present moment, and bring you out of your thoughts about yesterday, later on, or tomorrow.
Take just a minute or two (or more, if you have it) to notice the qualities of your current environment. Color, vibration, fragrances, light, echoes, softness, warmth…your body is always experiencing these things, but when your attention is focused on your internal thoughts, it’s easy to miss them. Same goes for the decisions, solutions, and interactions with others that are part of our everyday lives. We think because we are there, we are paying attention, but if your mind isn’t fully present, then your body’s location is, well, immaterial.
If you lose your focus, just come back. As you’ve heard me say a million times, the coming back is the meditation. The moment you realize you’re not paying attention to what you want to be paying attention to, and deliberately bring your focus back to it, you’ve done it. You’ve made an intentional choice to be present for this singular, precious, fleeting moment of your life. Do it again, and before you know it, you will have shown up for the whole thing, like a boss.
Weekends don’t exactly come around every day, so get out there and don’t miss a moment.
Photo credit: Joshua Reddekopp