Throughout my life I have found that it is very difficult for me to keep my mind on the present. I am a forward-thinking person, a planner, an organizer, a control freak. I like to know where my life is going and I want to know that those who travel with me are going in a similar direction. I expect to find certain signs along the way that tell me that I am going where I think I’m going and I am always looking ahead on my path for the next way-marker.
While this has served me well in planning and executing the myriad of projects, organizational obligations and family responsibilities I have acquired in my life, it has not done wonders for my stress level and it has battered my soul.
As I sit here today in the relative quiet of my office, I find my mind wandering, lingering on thoughts of peace, tranquility and happiness. A day in the park, an afternoon in the garden, a swim in the ocean, camping out with the Druids, a walk in the woods, a good read in my hammock, a moment with my family - I could go on. These are the times that I cherish my life most and ones that I look forward to with pleasure.
So, why do I not “schedule” those moments more often?
Those moments cannot be scheduled, they happen because, while you can provide the opportunity for these experiences to occur, you must be in the right state of mind to let yourself be aware of them as they occur. This requires mindfulness.
In moments where we are mindful, we can observe our thoughts and feelings, without judging them. Mindfulness is not about letting life pass you by but being awake and present for every moment, so that you don’t miss anything in the experience.
If you are able to be mindful in every moment of your life, even while meeting obligations and planning events, you can find these moments of peace even in the midst of a busy day.
You may find yourself caring less about your destination and discovering that the journey is much more important. I know, this sounds like such a cliche but ask anyone who has committed themselves to being more mindful and they will tell you it is true.
Mindfulness will not cure me of my fears but it does help me put a lot of my life in better perspective. Since I believe your perspective is your reality, changing my perspective changes how I feel about the world and my part in it.
Now, where did I put my planner?