It hit me like a thud when someone said it to me. I was blindsided and it radically changed my perspective...for the better. I'm referring to the realization that the thoughts I had in my head were deeply affecting my life. Before that, I didn't realize how powerful my thinking was. I didn't register that my thoughts were creating the feelings I felt and dictated actions in my life that were and weren't serving me.
MY RADIO STATION
When I began to focus on consciously listening to my thoughts, I was blown away. How could I be saying these things to myself? And how shocking -- my thoughts were amazingly repetitive! If I were a Spotify channel, you would get very bored of the same song over and over. But this is totally normal!
THINKING IS NOT NECESSARILY LOGICAL
It's true that we think and focus on some very minuet aspects of our life. Recently, a friend of mine told me how she ruminates on her clothes so much so that she searches online sales during her work day when she is supposed to be working. (Who hasn't been distracted at work?) But, she explained that her 'funny' story is that if she had a special new outfit, she would be more successful. Her thinking is not necessarily logical or reasonable. This is the human condition.
But my friend is aware of it! This is the basic concept of mindfulness -- paying attention. With busy daily lives and a reasonable about of woe regarding the state of our planet and humankind, it's not surprising that most people are 'not present' on a moment-to-moment basis. People want to check out, distract themselves and because the present moment can be monotonous, grueling, and sad.
LOTS OF DISTRACTIONS
Even more, we are so totally bombarded with stimulus. Text messages coming in, exciting online listacles bating us to click and the endless business of our everyday responsibilities are other challenges to staying present. I haven't counted but I bet you I check my phone approximately 30 times a day during the work week and I'm the biggest offender in my crew. Crazy!
MINDFUL = AWARE OF Living
But becoming mindful enables us to deal with our lives in a way that is profoundly real and possibly more gentle. It enables us to hear our (rational and irrational) thoughts but not necessarily believe them or accept them as 'correct'. Mindfulness helps us take a pause and choose what we want to say or do. What I find most powerful is mindfulness is reminds me that my life, the very present moment of it, is a privilege and ultimately a fleeting one.
A simple to practice mindfulness is to take a few moments each day and simply focus on your breath. For more tips, investigate mindfulness meditation. It's worth your attention.