Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mindfulness (on the Go)

It can be a real challenge to stay present and balanced in today's world. We all have our routines that hopefully include an active creative and spiritual practice, but even with that, there are times when things get really busy and you feel out of sync. So, what can you do to stay centered when things are moving too fast?

You may be driving to work, getting your children ready for school, answering e-mails at your office, and lost in the jumble of your thoughts. So, most importantly, stop for a moment and begin to pay attention to your breath. This will always bring you back to the present moment.

Then, take that moment you have just opened up and expand on it, by creating an impromptu sacred space, wherever you are. You can do this completely within your own thoughts. As you follow your breath, turn off the radio or the television, and give yourself the room to focus on your thoughts and intentions.

We don't always realize this, but the various forms of stimulation we bring into our environment affect our mental outlook, both to our benefit and detriment. Radio, television, and the internet are deeply influential in that regard.

With that in mind, I like to open up the silence in my morning drive time by improvising a new mantra each day. Yesterday, I began to chant the simple "Alleluia" chorus that I remembered from my days of going to Catholic Mass. As I chanted this mantra, I began to visualize my heart chakra, and to literally see the doors of my heart opening, and the word "Alleluia" written in calligraphy on a scroll that unrolled from my heart and extended into space.

Visualization exercises such as these are invaluable to reframing your perspective and manifesting positive activity in your life. My intention with this particular visualization is to sketch it in my journal, but this will have to wait until my schedule slows just a little.

This entire chanting meditation only took a couple of minutes, a brief interlude in an otherwise busy day. And yet, it completely changed my outlook, from a compulsive rush to activity, into a more reflective and relaxed place.

There are any number of ways that you can reset yourself throughout the day. A quick step into nature, even if it's just a small green space in the heart of the city can work wonders. A song on your playlist, whether it has words or just a positive instrumental vibration can inspire you. Briefly focusing your attention on a lit votive candle or the feeling of the water as you shower, can both help to calm the mind.

Basically, anything that gets you to pause for a moment and puts a smile on your face can refresh and bring you back to mindfulness, no matter how simple it may be.

As an exercise, and a go to reference for when times are super busy and you don't feel centered, make a list of all the different ways that you can take a moment and find yourself in the midst of a busy day. By doing that, you will be better prepared for when those days come along.

So next time I'm chanting my mantra out on my morning drive, and see you, I'll wave to you as a reminder to us both that this day is ours to create and be mindful of the beauty within and around us.

Have fun creating your life (even on the run) today!

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