Take a look around you

All too often we live on autopilot. We wake up at the same time every morning, have the same routine as we get ready for our day, eat the same thing for breakfast (mostly), go to the same places every day and we don’t pay attention to the world around us.

We listen to the same news on the radio, the same songs, drive the same route.

Our minds are always busy. Busy with lists of things we have to do, chores we have to do, tasks we have to accomplish, groceries we have to buy. Busy with thoughts of work, politics, the weather, the latest news stories, the latest text from your spouse or kid.

As we drive, do we really pay attention to what’s around us? Quick, now – what’s the color of the building on the next block?

I thought so…

All too often we’re so inside our thoughts that we don’t pay attention to the world. Yes, there are problems out there and some not-nice people, but over all the world is a beautiful place.

I’m happier when I stop a couple times a day and just look at the sky. Or the plants (in the winter, the shapes the bare branches make, or the snow on them). And if I can, sometimes I’ll just talk to a person about nothing in particular to find out what they’re thinking. (Not very often, though, because I’m an introvert – working on that!)

Be mindful of what you’re doing. Pay attention to where you put your keys, how your fold your clothes, the colors in your closet or drawers. Look at the world around you. There are beautiful things out there. Even a sunrise or sunset through the electric wires can be pretty. A bird flying overhead.

You’ll feel calmer, more at peace, and better able to handle the chaos of modern life.

 

Pay attention!

Fitness and mindfulness go hand in hand.

I saw so many examples the other day. I was at an agility trial where hundreds of people and their dogs compete. There’s a lot of down time at agility trials, so it’s a great opportunity to catch up with friends and people you see frequently at trials.

It was before 8:00 in the morning and people were pouring coffee and grabbing pastries, cake, and cookies without thinking about what they were doing. Many had gotten up before 5, and already had breakfast. It was like they were on automatic pilot. When I talk to my agility friends I eat pastries.

And that made me think about other friends.

If snacks are out, they’ll eat them. Cookies, nuts, cheese. It doesn’t matter. If munchies are laid out, they go in the face.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I love cake and nuts and cheese as much as the next person.

But, do I really need it?

It’s easy to get caught up in mindlessness. You see others engaging in mindless behavior – whether it’s eating junk food, staring at a screen or engaging in gossip.

Let’s start being mindful!

No, I do not need that piece of cake at 9:00 in the morning. I do not need to be scrolling my Facebook newsfeed for hours on end. I can do better.

Now, that’s not to say that every second of every day must be productive. We all need down time.

But pay attention to what you’re doing. Make a decision. It’s OK to say “For the next 15 minutes I’m going to play a stupid game,” as long as you’re aware of what you’re doing!

And about that cake … I do love cake. I do eat dessert. But, I’m not going to waste calories on a white cake when I don’t love it. If it were chocolate, though…