A paradox for sure, since “just sitting” is not in most of our vocabularies! Countless advice appears in every magazine article, television talk show, and social media channel about “living in the moment” and “being fully present and mindful.” But how do you DO that when there’s so much to DO?
I’m the world’s worst offender of not taking time to smell the so-called roses. I work full time, I have a second business that I’m constantly trying to grow, I have a husband, three grandchildren (and one on the way) – and for pete’s sake, it’s Christmas! I’m in full out decorating/shopping/cooking mode when I’m not at my desk trying to make a living. I’m a Type A personality – not prone to a lot of down time or too many minutes for quiet reflection. Yet I’m the one who could benefit the most from some lessons on mindful living.
In her memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert writes about a friend who, whenever she sees a beautiful place, exclaims frantically, “It’s so wonderful here! I want to come back here someday!” “It takes all of my persuasive powers,” writes Gilbert, “to try to convince her that she is already here.”
Gilbert could have been writing about me. My parents used to tell me that when I was getting an ice cream cone, I would say, “When are we going to the bakery to get cookies?” I was always living a few minutes or days or experiences ahead and that trend has admittedly continued into adulthood.
After a discussion with my business partner earlier this week about this very topic and the importance of deliberate and intentional living, we both determined to make an effort to take a few minutes each day to breathe, relax, and reflect. What we’re reflecting on doesn’t matter as much as mastering the exercise of mindfulness – just being with my thoughts as they are and halting the mad rush, even if only for a short while. It’s not easy for me and probably never will be. But I’m trying to embrace the experience and rid my mind of the notion that I’m sacrificing productivity if I take time each day to be in the moment and give intentional attention to the present.
Vicki Ravenel is the Co-Founder of A Wish For You (www.awishforyou.net), an online portal where customers can create Wish Packages to send to others for whom they want to show support, encouragement, and uplifting wishes. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband.