How often do we rush around with very little awareness of what is going on in our minds let alone our bodies? Have you noticed that when we do rush our body posture changes where our head is further forward, our chest tightens, our shoulders are up around our ears and our breathing becomes more shallow? In the process it is likely we feel anxious and stressed while doing this. Meanwhile our mind is very fixed on getting to the future destination - whatever that is. Our inner voice is driving us forward with internal language that may consist of phrases such as 'I must'....'Ive got to'......'I should'. When or if we don't manage to attain this future destination or goal, how often does this internal dialogue then change to one of self-criticism?
Now imagine that there is a different way. Breathe. Feel your feet on the floor. Really get a sense of this contact on the floor. Notice your body and how it is moving. Notice any tension or sensations in the body. Keep your attention on feeling your feet on the floor. Keep noticing your breath. If your mind is trying to get you to go faster and faster ask yourself do you actually have to? Do you need to rush or is this the mind driving you to that future goal once more? OK sometimes we are running later than we would like, but even then, I wonder how different we would feel if we walked with an awareness of our feet, breath and body - and heaps of kindness towards ourselves?
Being aware of our breath, body, mind and emotions - whatever we are doing - is a way of anchoring us in the present moment. Right here. Right now. In the Now - which the present moment is also known as - there is space and a chance to check in with ourselves and to observe what is happening inside of us. In the present moment we are not being dragged around by our mind and it's incessant chattering and worrying. We are not fretting about the future. Yes we need to plan - and our mind has an amazing planning faculty - but when we spend our life focused on the future we miss this very precious present. The truth is the future has not arrived and we have no control over what is going to happen in the future - no matter how much we try. So why not just be here?
When you notice you're feeling stressed or anxious about the future, or wishing you had done things differently in your past, give yourself some slack. Right now this is where you are and you are doing the best that you can. Give yourself a whole heap of love. This is so important, since when we are stressed we can be our own worst critic. Then bring your focus to your feet, your breath and your body whether it is moving or sitting. Notice your mind but don't get carried away by it. Just stay with the focus of your body and breath. If you can manage to stay with this you will have brought yourself back to this Precious Present - a place where there is greater space and calm.
And if you don't manage it, be kind to yourself. Know that you are doing the best that you can right now............
Alison runs Calm the Mind - a business dedicated to finding greater calm in a world that has clearly gone crazy! www.calmthemind.co.uk