Tips for Staying in the Moment
As my new logo portrays, my life is very hectic. Some days it is all I can do to grasp on tight and just hold on - not manage, not complete, not organize, not anything. Just hold on! And once in awhile, if life gets this way, it’s okay - everyone goes through periods where they bite off more than they can chew and struggle with time management.
But when you are juggling tons of activities, deadlines, people, etc., every day, all day long, it can become very difficult to keep it all together. I had days like these running together so often that I would forget things like the day, the date, bills that needed paid and appointments for the kids. We’d end up arriving at soccer games at half-time or arrive at dance class two hours early. I made appointments on top of appointments as I was trying to juggle driving, checking my iPhone calendar and texting people to confirm. I was on the verge of tears more often than not, thinking that life was just supposed to be this way and I needed to be more - oh, I don’t know - organized, together, a Type A personality - anything other, anything better, than who I was.
During several months of self-reflection, I’ve come to realize that taking time to stay in the present really grounds me. It also removes distractions that seem to materialize out of nowhere. Today, I still don’t have time for extensive yoga practice, spa visits or meditations on top of mountains; however, I have incorporated some changes into my life that seem to help me focus and stay present in the moment.
Get off the Grid
One day a week, I try to unplug. I try to stay off of the PC and the iPhone. I avoid texting and checking Facebook updates. I limit phone calls to emergencies only. I read instead of watching television. I do this on Sundays and this practice has helped me to allow my mind to focus on the week ahead but also to wander and be creative. I feel more positive because I have one day off from the chronic naysayers and complainers on social networking sites. Have you ever read some news article or blog comments? The rudeness and blatant disrespect toward the writers is astounding to me. Having a day away from this is healing to my soul.
As I just said, I don’t have much time to spend in meditation. Fortunately, it is my arch-enemy, the iPhone, which has helped me with this dilemma. Every morning, during my 30 minute commute to the office, I recite the Rosary with my aptly named iPhone app. I love it - I just press the button, and a soft-toned woman recites and I join in. My mind sometimes wanders, but I bring myself back to present, focusing on the Glorious, Luminous, Joyful and Sorrowful mysteries. This is the perfect way to begin my day and I arrive at work in a peaceful state of mind.
I’m tired of doing ten things at once. All the “supermoms” I know, the ones who say they can juggle twenty things at a time, seem to be in a foul mood more often than not. I’d rather do one thing at a time and be present (and happy) while I do it, than juggle ten things and forget I’m doing all of them. If I am folding laundry, I love to feel the softness of the towels, the lavender scent of the clothing and astonish myself at how clean I got the gym uniforms! If I am talking on the telephone, I try to avoid jumping online simultaneously. If I am in the yard playing with my dogs, I don’t text or answer emails. If I am cooking, I want to appreciate what I am making, from the act of cutting basil from my garden to inhaling the scent of a freshly peeled pineapple. It’s these little bits of joy that make stressful days easier to handle.
It was mystified to read an article recently that said a high percentage of people don’t breathe right. Really? But think about it. A lot of people take very shallow breathes and don’t fill their lungs. Deep breat is a phenomenal relaxation technique. During times of stress or low-energy, I fill up my lungs all the way to the count of four. Then I hold that breath for eight seconds and release for seven. Even doing that one time helps me to relax, be present and stay balanced.
So, life can come at ya really hard. We all know that. But staying in the moment and giving myself time to incorporate bits of peace into my life has helped me stay sane more often than not. I don’t feel like I want to burst into tears so often and more often than not, I have an empty arm with which to hug my kids or pet my dogs or pick up my pen and write.
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