Today I found myself running ahead of schedule all day. As I moved from meetings to workout to appointments to meetings, in between each I found myself with a few extra minutes.
Living in an urban location, it’s really easy to get caught up in the fast-paced mode of society around you. My goal when walking in the city was never let anyone pass me- sound ridiculous or familiar? I was always in a hurry, running to catch the bus, running late to a meeting, dinner or other plans, or simply playing frogger in Chicago traffic as I crossed the middle of busy street because it would take to long to walk up and cross at the light.
Today was different. I took myself off autopilot and I slowed down. I noticed people were rushing past me in a hast, brushing shoulders as if my slow pace was interrupting their lives. I’m quite sure I was that person a thousand times over. It felt like I had a little ray of sun following me while others had a dark cloud over them.
It seriously felt so good to really feel my feet caress the ground. It was nice not to have to sprint around the taxi cab that almost clipped me because I was crossing against the light. But mostly my mind was more clear, even less aggravated and I noticed interesting beauty all around me.
I’ve been working on mindfulness for some time and I’m the first to admit that it doesn’t always come this easy … at least not in the beginning. But it definitely plays a role in everything we do. For instance-
- eating while watching television or while working away at your desk – how many times have you reached for another bite only to find your plate empty?
- or checking your phone non-stop while out with friends – how many times do you actually miss the conversation, the nuances, the emotions, because you were scanning Facebook, Instagram, playing a game or texting with others?
It’s taken me a long time to actually take myself off auto-pilot and be mindful in my day. Let’s be really honest, it doesn’t happen EVERY moment of EVERY day either. It’s a practice, one that takes time to cultivate. With any practice, you start where you are.
- Can you take one deep breath before you dig into your next meal?
- Can you slow down your walk for one block and notice the beauty around you?
- Can you set the phone down for 30 minutes at a time?
Take stock in where you run on autopilot and where it could be most helpful to practice a little mindfulness. Where can you start? Always remember that it’s OK to ask for help too, that’s why I’m here.0