This morning, as I walked to an appointment, I was lost in my own thoughts. I was puzzling over a weird dream I’d had. But, I could have equally been obsessing over bad vibes that someone had given me the day before and what I was making that mean, or the guilt of having eaten what I promised myself that I wouldn’t eat, the number on the weighing scale…- these were the kinds of things that used to torment my mind only a few years earlier.
Suddenly, I noticed something. It was sweet and quite wonderful. I looked up from the ground and saw a long row of trees lining the road, all in full blossom. The air was rich with their scent. At that very moment the bells from the town hall started to ring a tune. I listened. I took it all in. I smiled at a passing cyclist. In this moment I was completely and fully present and aware of everything around me.
That moment was freeing.
My mind was no longer busy going round in circles.
All emotions had been replaced with awe and wonder.
I felt light.
I was deeply contented.
What fascinates me is how easily I could have missed that moment. I could have stayed fixed on my thoughts, or obsessings, and then this moment would have passed me by completely. And I would have allowed the negative feelings to perpetuate.
Do you make time to be fully present in the moment?
How often do you stop and smell the flowers?
Do you make time to notice the world around you?
Here are some things that when I notice make me feel alive and my heart full:
a gentle breeze
a tender touch
freshly cut grass
a foraging bumble bee
a busy line of ants
dark clouds over a sunlit landscape
a beautiful building facade
freshly baked goods
the scent of blossom and flowers
the help of a stranger
a loving look
a handwritten note
a feather or a leaf floating in the breeze
a choir singing in the distance
the craftsmanship of a handmade object
a deep, satisfying yawn
The question is, can you still feel angry / upset / lonely / betrayed / guilty / etc. when you are fully present in the moment? Even if you are in a room with no windows, no furniture and blank walls (not a regular occurrence for the majority of us) we can still notice our breath, the feel of it going in and out, the pulsing of our heart beat, the air or fabric on our skin…
This is also called mindfulness and meditation. It’s a detachment from everything apart from what is in that very moment.
This practice is proven to lower blood pressure and stress hormones and therefore extend healthy life. Is it also a great tool for overcoming comfort eating and helping with weight loss – will you binge if you feel contented in your heart?
A little challenge for you
Take some time today to be fully present in the moment. You can do it immediately after reading this post, even if you’re in a busy commuter train – notice everything around you:
What do you hear?
What do you see?
What do you sense?
What do you smell?
What do you feel?
What do you taste?
Notice what you feel afterwards. How is it different or similar to what you were feeling before the mindfulness practice?
If you’ve had any insights from this post, please share them with me below!