Do you wait for the green man?
Have you ever been told to wait for the green man - or told someone else to - when crossing the road? The Department of Transport reported the 2018 statistics in September 2019 that 14% of road traffic fatalities in the UK are pedestrians. I am aware these are not because of all of those people not using the green man, however, this statistic got me thinking.
We rush through life, not stopping to notice the most important things whether its the green man (who can potentially save lives - I'm a big fan of him) or that someone close to us is suffering. This mindfulness and presence can be overtaken by the fact that we pressed the snooze button, didn't have time to shower, forgot the importance of breakfast, hot-footed it out to work also we were already behind on our workload from yesterday. Life gets in the way, it gives us daily obstacles so how then do we combat this so we can truly become present.
Firstly, the above realisation should help. Figure out the causes of your regular stresses and put systems in place to hijack the problem.
Always forgetting breakfast? Make it the night before (overnight oats, smoothies) and leave it next to your front door. In front of your door so you cannot forget it for tripping over it if you have too.
Hitting the snooze button? Put your phone (or your alarm clock if you're old school like me) on the other side of your bedroom. You can't just roll over and turn that off.
The second step is to engage in meditation practice. At this point, I may have lost you. Why would you need some hippy-dippy meditation practice? You're maybe thinking that you've tried it before and it doesn't work. Your mind isn't like anyone else's- it just doesn't stop. My darling, that is the point. It's meant to be challenging. The more challenging it is, the more you need it. Start small, listen to a song (like really listen to it), try out a few different apps (Mindspace, Calm, there are loads) or try out some youtube video's (my favourite is Tony Robbins Gratitude meditation - it's only 5 minutes and 2 seconds long). Persevere and know, that you can do it!
Then the third step is to take some time out. I struggle with this one to this day. Getting outdoors in nature (yes even in Scotland in the heart of winter), having a mug of your favourite tea (or a coffee - I know what it's like to love coffee, trust me), take a bath (only if you actually enjoy baths) or have a nap. Whatever works for you. The most important part of this step is to ditch the smartphone, the smartwatch, the laptop, the tablet and yes even the book. Be all in on your experiences. Be present in doing not a whole lot.
When you take care of yourself you are better placed to serve and support those around you. You'll notice the little things. Don't get so caught up in life that you forget to live. And always wait for the green man.