Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Paying Attention Costs Nothing

Paying attention.. what an interesting phrase.

Being Attentive Costs Us Nothing

So why do we use the word "paying" there?

The cost is our attention itself. It is where we place our attention, which requires effort. Or at least it requires remembering to do it. I suppose that could be at the cost of other seemingly more important things on our endless to-do list.

But it comes at the cost of Being.
So today, I'm putting this at the top of my to-be list: Be.

We can learn a lesson from children and animals. They stay present and focused in the moment.

How Do I Do That?

I can set a reminder on my smart phone. There are apps for that. I like Mindfulness. I can set a bowl to chime at any interval between a minute and 23 hours, 59 minutes, and have it run for up to 24 hours. Or I can set it to random.

I can use an outside cue such as the telephone or the doorbell or any ringing sound. Each time I hear the phone ring, it can be a reminder to take a breath and Be. Remember that I am. Or in the car, I can use turn signals as my cue. Each time I see them or use them, or see someone change lanes without using them, it can be my reminder.

How About You?

How do you remember to stay in the Present Moment?

You Might Also Like...

Peace Is Every Step
The Art of Absence
Wheel Alignment - Mental Alignment
Feminine Power
Life Is A Smorgasbord

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Father's Day

Who was that unmasked man? Fathers' Day is coming. And 10 years after his death, I am grateful that I had time to reconnect with him.

I never really knew my father beyond his role.

He left for the train at 6:55 am, and returned at 6:00 pm. As far as. I know he liked his job. He was responsible and constant support for his family of eight. Beyond that, I didn't know much about him. That is until the last couple of years of his life, after a Parkinson's diagnosis and a stroke.

He was diagnosed soon after he remarried, a few years after my mothers death. I flew in to attend his wedding, and I'm glad I saw his picture before going to his house so I wasn't shocked in front of him. He looked a good 20 years older that when I'd seen him 2 years previous. Seeing him without vitality, the fear stored in my cells from this big scary disciplinarian just drained right out through the floor, and the love I had forgotten replaced it.

I can't imagine how my parents stayed sane while raising six kids.

Dad had a stroke and lived for about 16 months in bed, cared for by his second wife. There were different opinions about whether the feeding tube was a good idea. But I was grateful to have the chance to reconnect with him and love him again. It was a reconciliation without words. And one of the most powerful experiences of my life.

Happy Father's Day dad.

If you have lost your father, or anyone in your life, you might enjoy these articles:
Knowing How to Live, We Know How to Die
Remembering Mom
I've Seen Dead People (death of a pet)
We're Not As Separate As We Thought

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Shift Happens

You have probably seen the bumper sticker that says "Shift Happens".

A pun of the popular phrase sh*t happens, shift can also happen.
And it's in our hands.

Change Your Thinking, Change Everything

A shift in our thinking, a shift in how we see the world or ourselves, can make an enormous shift in what shows up around us.

If I think that the world is not a friendly place, then that is what I will see. If I remember that the universe is FOR me, not against me, I will see a kinder, gentler world.

Why is that so?

Well, mostly because I am changing what I bring to a situation.

For example, I tend to prefer one-on-one or small group interaction to a crowd. I enjoy being hostess to a gathering of people I know. But put me in a sea of strangers, and I clam up, tighten up, and want to disappear.

But I have had days where I felt so good that a crowd didn't bother me. The people probably weren't that different that day, but I was. I was coming from a place of being full and giving of myself from the overflow, rather than hesitant in a roomful of strangers. It's what I discovered one time when I went dancing in the dark.

I mean... look at these 2 pictures. Which one would you want to talk to?
The difference? In one I thought of being uncomfortable. In the other I enjoyed the music that was playing on my computer. I'm having more fun in the 2nd picture, and it shows.

Don't believe me? Try it yourself.

You can even try it at home, in your imagination.
Just remember a time when you felt expansive, happy, filled up with life and joy. Really get into it and remember how it felt in your body. When you can feel the smile on your face and the spaciousness in your body, think of that crowd or intimidating situation. Maybe you need to give a speech, or sing in front of an audience. How would it feel to walk in there feeling this expansive? How would your experience feel different? Is it better? Is there an openness that wasn't there before? Are you having more fun?

How About You?

Have you noticed this kind of shift? Tell us about it!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Life is a Smorgasbord

Life is a Smorgasbord. Take what you want. Leave the rest for someone else.

This summer brings lots of gatherings, many of them potlucks. These are opportunities for me to practice mindfulness in what I choose... both at the table and in life.

It's a Practice In Choice

Just like at a potluck, I don't need to complain about the things I don't like. I can leave them on the buffet table. I can enjoy the things that look yummy. I can be surprised by some new things I've never tasted before. And delight in seeing some of my favorites. And just like in life, there are plenty of opportunities to overdo it - overeat at the potluck or overdo in life.

What Am I Bringing to the Table?

And just like when I go to a potluck, I make sure that what I bring to the table is something healthy, nutritious, and delicious.

If I bring brownies, I know that I'll over-indulge in them and regret it later. Either within an hour in my stomach or the next day at the scale.

If I bring fruit salad, I know that there will be at least one thing there that I will like. And hopefully other people will enjoy it as well.

How About You?

What's your favorite thing to bring to the table at a potluck, or in life?