Let’s take a moment out of our busy day to celebrate the present by noticing its details.
Let go of doing. Let go of thinking. Let go of worrying.
Focus only on the breath. Inhale for the count of 1…2…3… Then hold 1…2…3…
Exhale for the count of 1…2…3…4…5…6…
Relax the shoulders. Bring them down out of the neck.
If desired, repeat the breathing cycle.
Exhale twice as long as the inhale to further lower the heart rhythm.
Smile. Yes, that’s right. Smiling (even when we don’t feel like it) sends a message of wellness to our minds.
Now, answer these questions, either out loud, formed as thoughts, or written down. When I choose to write down present moment observations, I tend to notice more details and use more descriptive language.
What can you feel?
I notice the cotton fabric of the T-shirt on my shoulders and the tight socks squishing my feet inside my sneakers. And, how interesting, I also notice the tightness of the muscles in my neck and upper back. This prompts me to relax my shoulders down again and take another deep inhale and twice as long exhale.
What can you taste?
I notice the comforting flavors of celery, thyme and chicken still lingering on my tongue from eating my homemade soup.
What can you smell?
I notice the fresh thyme still strong on my fingers from chopping it earlier.
What can you hear?
I notice my steady breathing, the hum of the ceiling fan, and the chimes ringing in my backyard from the gentle breeze.
What can you see?
As I gaze out the window, I notice our palm trees’ fronds waving in the breeze, and sparrows soaring playfully through the blue, cloudy sky.
Do you feel more calm? Grounded?
Release your shoulders down if they crept back up without your awareness.
Exhale. Smile again in celebration of noticing your now.
That felt really, really good, didn’t it? Perhaps better than good. It was just what I needed today. Thank you for being here with me.
In all honesty, over recent months, I did not prioritize this practice enough. When I do prioritize present moment awareness, it makes a difference in my being and perspective. Let’s set a daily reminder on our phones and planners right now, even if we only have 5 minutes a day. What do you say? It is suddenly November and we are entering the busiest time of year. Amidst the multitasking, the plans, the projects, the people, the fun, the events, the expectations, the worries, the fears, the intensity of emotions…
Focusing on the breath and our five senses helps to let the chatter of the mind fall away and reminds us that we are currently safe, despite what happened in the past or may happen in the future. This is a practice that, over time, helped get me through painful days and sleepless nights. It is also a practice that, in the midst of a busy, difficult, or stressful day, can be essential. When there is too much stimulus in our outer world, or we create turmoil in our minds with constant stress, worry, or fear, without a sufficient balance of rest and renewal, the brain starts to believe we are in danger. It is scientifically proven that if the brain believes we are in danger long enough, it will do what it can to protect us. Let’s choose to send ourselves messages of wellness and safety with present moment awareness.
Simply noticing our current state and surroundings more regularly can be rewarding by itself. Here are also additional ways to embrace and celebrate the present moment:
Document present moment observations (daily? weekly? monthly?) in a gratitude journal, travelers notebook, or special album. If further inspiration strikes, feel free to add selfies, images that represent those momentary five senses, or images that bring peace. Please be gentle and keep this simple, easy, and enjoyable (especially if this is added to a routine as self-care over the holidays). Scroll down further for my layout example.
Oneness album by Matthew Halsall on Spotify
Present Moment audiotrack (3 min) on Spotify
Connect with your Soul audiotrack (5 min) by Jasmine Soft on Spotify
The 5-4-3-2-1 Method on YouTube
Yoga Nidra for Sleep by Jennifer Piercy on the Insight Timer App
Layout Inspired by A Present Moment
I decided to create a layout of a recent time I was so profoundly aware of my present moment that it brought tears of joy. Everything else (the pain, worries, fears) completely fell away. Not surprisingly, my memory keeper instincts surfaced and I took photos of my surroundings and also a selfie with my iPhone. It was important to have a reminder to mark my progress. Even though I felt slightly embarrassed taking the selfie while laying on the ground, I have only gratitude now because it holds the fond memory.
-Gossamer Blue Traveler’s Notebook
-6 background papers from Pink Paisley’s Indigo and Ivy line
-Ephemera from Prima’s Nature Lover
-an old miscellaneous flourish rub-on that was missing its packaging
-photos printed from Canon SELPHY CP1300 using the Print to Size app that I mentioned in my October blog post.
Remember to check out October’s blogs, if you haven’t already:
Misty taught us How to Import SVG Files.
I guided you in Asking Questions & Using Apps to Improve Workflow.