On the weekends, please enjoy the Retro Throwback where I share my favorite posts from some time ago. All You’ve Got is Now was originally published in April 2012.
All this yoga is helping me be more mindful and to stay in the moment. It’s also, I am positive, making me a happier person. I realized in the last couple of weeks when I wasn’t being mindful. For example, when I am brushing my teeth and replaying events in my head from a week ago. That’s going to happen. However, I am noticing it is happening less, and I am catching myself (at least some) when I am doing it. That never used to happen.
I think any of us can develop mindfulness and staying in the moment in any number of circumstances. I just happened to start picking it up through Bikram. I started to make myself pay more attention to what was going on in the postures. How did I feel? What happened right there when I fell out? I’ve got a tight muscle, how far can I go in the posture before I cross a line into too much? I noticed that when I came to class with an injury that those were some of my best classes. I had to be mindful or I risked injuring myself further or causing myself pain. I had to go slowly and mindfully into and out of postures. I had to tune in with my body throughout each one. Those classes were fun even when I couldn’t do a posture – because of an injury – or had to minimize my depth. I learned a lot about my mind in those classes.
All of this going to class and practicing being mindful and in the moment for 90 minutes at a time many times a week is bound to transfer outside the room even if I don’t actively try to do so. I’ve found that I am learning to recognize life for what it is – the moment we are experiencing right now. Which means life is about a lot of simple, drama-free things like walking the dog, washing my hands, making dinner, and checking to see how my peppers and tomatoes are growing (the answer is they are growing awesomely!).
Interestingly, I have found that being mindful affords me time to do more. Because I am more focused, and realize when I am losing focus, I am getting stuff done much quicker in my day to day life. I’m also happier. I am happy doing all the little daily things that are a part of life because they are life. I am happier when my brain is not making up stories about what’s going to happen next week. This doesn’t mean I don’t think about next week and plan for it (I do), but I focus on what I know is going to happen – as much as we can know anything – and what I need to be prepared for. I know, for example, I have to go to Chicago to give a presentation next week. When I think about that trip, I make sure all the necessary arrangements are in place and that the presentation is as good as I can get it. I don’t make up stories about how many people will show up, what they will think, what if they don’t like me, etc….because that’s a waste of time. If any of those issues creeps in then I will engage with them as they become reality. But for now, thinking about what COULD happen is not being in the moment and not being mindful.
All we’ve got is now. This moment, right here. Let’s engage with it for whatever it is and whatever it brings us.