Experience the Now

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It is granted that life can keep us busy. In the mornings, whilst having breakfast, you may be thinking about the day ahead. Planning what you are going to do. Are the kids ready for school? Have I got everything ready for work? Where did I put that report that’s due today? Looking at the clock, you panic as there is only 15 minutes before you have to be out the door. During the day you rush from one task to the other. If only you could just “STOP!”

Does that sound familiar? Does the above describe you? Are you wishing that life would just slow down for a minute so you could enjoy it a bit more? Do you sometimes wish time would come to a screeching halt, even for a split second, so that you can stop being so busy and enjoy life? When we get so focused on being busy, we lose focus of what is happening around us. So how do we “stop” in our busyness?  All it takes is a conscious effort.

For the two weeks (or try and make it four weeks, as it is said it takes at least a month to form a new habit) try this experiment:

During the day, just stop what you are doing for five minutes. Close your eyes and take in some deep breathes. Focus on your breathing. Do this for a minute. Now open your eyes and just look around you. What do you see? Look at the things around you as though it is the first time you have seen them. What are the shapes and colours of the objects? Listen. What do you hear? Are there any sounds in the distance? What are they? Now close your eyes and sniff the air. What can you smell? Is it pleasant or unpleasant? What else can you smell? Now focus on yourself. How do you feel? Are you relaxed or stressed? If you still feel stressed, do some more deep breathing and visualise the air rushing through your body, relaxing and energising every part of it.

After the exercise, ask yourself how you feel? Did you find yourself more aware as to what is happening around you?

We all need to take time out of our daily busyness and appreciate what is happening “here and now”. Instead of our minds constantly thinking ahead, planning what to do next, we need to experience “this moment”. It’s more than a superficial experience. When we begin to use all of our senses in a more profound way, then we will begin to find a new richness in the life around us.

It is then that we truly “experience the now.” When our minds are constantly planning ahead, it is robbing us of the chance to experience “this moment” in all it’s richness and diversity.

So, do yourself a favour, stop and enjoy “now”! You will find that life takes on a new, exciting and profound level.

 

 

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Go to your “Happy Place”

Hi everyone!

In my last post I mentioned about how meditation helps to destress you and also how it helps to center yourself. In this post i want to take meditation up a notch. No, I do not want you to stand on your head or anything random, I just want you to use your imagination as you meditate.

You have probably heard people tell someone they need to go to their “Happy Place” when a person is stressed and losing the plot. That is where I want you to end up going to, but you do not have to wait until you are about to explode in a fit of stress and rage. You can go there everyday and you will find that you will feel more relaxed and less stressed.

So what is a “Happy Place”? It is just as it sounds: a place you would like to retreat to where you feel safe, serene, relaxed and happy! A place where you can be by yourself and just enjoy being there. The good news is that you don’t have to travel far to reach your happy place. In fact you do not have to travel anywhere. Just find a place in your home where you can be by yourself, undisturbed, for 20-30 minutes.

What does a “Happy Place” look like? It can look like whatever you want it to look like. That’s the awesome thing about “Happy Places”, everybody has their own and it does not have to be the same place as anyone else’s. A “Happy Place” is a highly subjective place and you can make it as special as you want. My “Happy Place” is a clearing, deep in a forest, where the grass is soft and the air is warm. I can hear a river trickling by and the sound of the birds in the tree and the forest animals coming and visiting me. I can smell the sweet fragrance of the pine trees surrounding my clearing and also the aroma of the flowers on the edge of the clearing.

Your “Happy Place” could be similar to mine. It could also be a beach, or  a river bank, or a garden, or somewhere on another planet! Just create a place that you would love to go to when you feel the world is beating you down. It is a place you can escape to and just “be”.

How do you visit your “Happy Place”? By following these steps.

1. Find somewhere where you can be undisturbed for 20-30 minutes. Take the phone off the hook if you can.

2. Close your eyes and then take in several deep breathes and exhale. Feel your body relax.

3. Now go to your “Happy Place”. What does it look like? Explore it. What can you see? What can you hear? Listen carefully are there any sounds that are subtle? What can you feel? How warm is the air? Can you feel the sun on your face? If your “Happy Place” is the beach, can you feel the sand underneath you? Is it soft or grainy? If your “Happy Place” is by the river, what does the grass feel like? Explore the feelings and sensations. Enjoy them because this is your personal place where you can escape to and just relax and be. There is no stress, no pressure and no demands on you. What can you smell? The scent of the salt on the sea breeze as it blows softly across your face. The earthy smell of the grass as you are in the forest. The perfume from the flowers that you see scattered here and there around you. Can you smell anything subtle? Reach out and touch things around you. How do the feel? Soft and smooth or hard? What does the sand feel like as you pick up a handful and let the grains slip through your fingers? When you dip your feet in the river, does it feel cold or warm? Is it flowing swiftly or is it gentle?

4. When you are ready, slowly open your eyes. Have a stretch if you want to.

5. Examine how you feel now compared to before your started this exercise.

The whole idea of this exercise is to get you to employ your senses in the meditation. That is why I said we were taking it up a notch. In my last post you were more passively just sitting and thinking on one thought. In the “Happy Place” exercise you are being more active: seeing feeling, hearing, touching and smelling.  The brain is a powerful machine and it can not distinguish between the real and the imagined. Once you do this exercise you will be amazed at how real your “Happy Place” seems to be.

Do this exercise daily for at least two weeks and you will be amazed at the affect it has on your overall well-being. No one will have to tell you to go to your “Happy Place” any more because you have already been there.