We spend so much of our time running from one aspect of our lives to another. A fast pace life with little to no time to breath or enjoy the beauty around us. This reminds me of a video game. You start on level one moving on to level two then level three always chasing the next exciting adventure, yet never fully enjoying the one you are on. “Life is about the journey not the destination.” That’s a quote we’ve all heard before. What about, “Remember to stop to smell the rose?” Too many times I hear elders saying, “Enjoy every moment because it all happens so fast. One day you wake up and life has passed you by.” In our society we have forgotten how to stop and enjoy the moments. We are always in survival mode running from one thing to the next. Fast food restaurants. Drive through banks machines. Pay at the pump gas stations. Everything is made to push us through our lives as quickly as possible. Always reaching for the next level. But what about all the things we are missing out on?
As a mother of three young children I know this crazy, busy life all too well. I have three energetic children that are always anticipating the next exciting adventure. I would be lying if I said they didn’t take after me. I have always been a go-go person ready to tackle the next big challenge. Over the last few years I started to feel myself getting more and more anxious. I felt out of balance. This fast pace lifestyle was catching up with me and I was burning out.
Yoga has always been a part of my life, along with mediation. The problem was I wasn’t making time for those important rituals that brought me into balance. This way of being had spilt over into other aspects of my life. I never enjoyed my food at dinnertime. I didn’t stop to smile back at strangers. I was rushing though my life and missing these and other beautiful moments. When I started to the take time to focus myself back on my yoga mat I began to feel balanced again. Meditation took practice and patience. I started with only ten minutes at a time. Just enough time to pause and breathe. I slowly increased the time I would sit in silence. The more I created these moments in my day to slow down, the more I felt calm and at peace. I started to pay attention to things around me. How the fresh air smelled as it filled my lungs with life. Or how the sunshine felt warm and comforting on my skin. I was awakened to experiencing life with purpose and meaning.
Practicing mindfulness is a daily practice. In the moments when your chest is tight and your heart is pounding and you are feeling rushed you learn to pause. Taking a moment to remind yourself there is nowhere to be but right here, right now. When your shovelling your food in at dinnertime, take the time to slow yourself down. To taste the creaminess of an avocado, or experience the crunch of lettuce. Every time you want to express your emotions, pause to feel the emotions. Explore the emotions. Understand the emotions. Slow down, and enjoy those things you would have never noticed otherwise. Take the time to engage in meaningful conversations with others. Fully embrace that hug from your child, or that kiss from your partner. This brings meaning to life. This is what it means to be mindful. This is what it means to live fully.