So, how’d your week go? Was it a good one, relative to your expectations? I ask because that’s usually how we gauge how something went. We go in with an idea of what’s to come, and measure what we experience accordingly.
Ever wonder what it might feel like to see things outside of that framework? To just be with what’s happening without looking at it through the lens of what it should be, or what you’d prefer it to be?
I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m just asking if you’ve thought about it.
Here’s an idea. Let’s try a little “no-fail” mindfulness challenge about it, and see what you think.
- First, find a seat. You want to be comfortable enough, but also alert and aware. Whether you’re on the floor or a chair, make an effort to keep your back straight and your chin slightly lifted. Your eyes can be open or closed, but if they’re open, make sure you’re looking towards something that won’t distract you for the next few minutes.
- Next, bring to mind a plan you have for the weekend. It can be a commitment on your calendar, or just an activity or errand you plan to fit in at some point. Don’t think too hard about it. It’s just a mindfulness exercise, it shouldn’t be stressful from the start.
- Once you have that in mind, begin to find your breath. Notice the natural rhythm of your inhales, and exhales, as they are without any effort. Just observe.
- Then, bring some images of your plan to mind. Think about what you’ll be doing, where you’ll be, what your surroundings will look like. Picture the order of events as you expect them to go, and how you believe you might feel as they do. The more detail, the better, to really bring you into the experience.
- After you’ve envisioned the whole plan, all the way through to the end, find your breath again. Inhale, exhale, and just observe that flow for a minute or two.
- Next, you’re gonna hit the rewind button. It’s time to run that errand, eat that meal, turn up that party – whatever it was – one more time. This time, as you set out on the journey, pay attention. Just try to notice what’s happening, instead of projecting what’s coming next. If you notice you’re veering into expectations, simply say internally to yourself, “I don’t know that for sure.”
- Sidebar: I know this is tough to do since the whole thing’s happening in your mind and you have to create something, but the effort here is to check in with what you see, hear, and feel in the moment. Try to let it happen rather than direct it. It’s just an exercise, and I promise there’s a point to it. ;-)
- After you’ve wrapped up round two of the exercise, return to a focus on your breath. Take three rounds of inhales and exhales, letting your breath go through your nose and mouth. Open your eyes, and gently come back into your space.
So, what you have here now is a new skill set. As you go through your weekend, make an effort here and there to be where you are. Connect with your surroundings without jumping ahead. See what you see, hear what you hear, feel what you feel, when you do. If you find that you do, go back to your simple reminder that “I don’t know that for sure.”
Enjoy each moment as it comes. I mean, who wants the weekend to go by any faster, anyway?
Photo credit: Andrzej