WHEREVER YOU ARE, BE ALL THERE ~ Jim Elliot
It seems crazy that many of us want to learn how to be present because surely this is something that should come naturally? But living in a world of distractions many of us find our minds are not fully present and in the moment. Often we’re so caught up in thought – reliving past events or thinking about the future – that we miss the world around us.
Before Christmas, I caught the bus home and as I looked out the window I took delight in all the things going on around me: people sat in cosy coffee shops, smiling faces, pretty twinkly fairy lights, excited children, overflowing shopping bags, Christmas trees lined up on the pavement waiting to be taken home and decorated. I paused for a moment to look around the bus and I noticed every other person was looking down at their phone. I felt sad that they’d missed so many lovely sights but perhaps there was something better happening on Facebook after all who am I to judge?
After years of racing thoughts and continuous iPhone use, I decided to calm my mind. And after reading a few books and practicing mindfulness and meditation, I have broken down the challenge of being present into three easy steps. They’ve helped me to slow down, stopped me feeling busy and overwhelmed and unlocked a greater sense of enjoyment for the simple things in life.
The quickest and easiest way to bring yourself into the present moment is to breathe. So if you find your mind is racing simply acknowledge your thoughts, let them go and move your attention to the breath. This is a great technique if you’re feeling worried or stressed and it immediately engages your mind with the now.
Be aware of the sensation of your body, your feet on the floor or your body in a chair. Focus on the feeling of your clothes against your skin and the air around you. Relax your body and try to let go of any tension. I find moving my fingers and toes shifts the attention from my mind and to my body and the present moment.
Focus on what’s around you by taking in every detail including the sounds, smells and atmosphere. I like to imagine I’m a tourist exploring a new place for the very first time. There’s always something I haven’t noticed before. If you’re with people really listen to their words and expressions and put your phone away so you’re not distracted, nothing on the internet is more important than the person sat in front of you. Remember this moment will never be the same again.
This is the next instalment in my 4k photo journey. Over Christmas my niece kindly allowed me to film her as she blew bubbles in a Herefordshire forest. I was thrilled to capture her on film especially the joy as she watched the bubbles disappear into the trees. I spent no more than five minutes filming and then I could put my camera away, be present and fully enjoy the day. And to be honest after five minutes she’d had enough anyway!
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This post is in collaboration with Panasonic.