Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.
— Jon Kabat-Zinn
Years ago I bought my daughter a bracelet that read “live with intention.” I felt that was an appropriate phrase for her as she made her way off to college and started to pursue her dreams. To me, living with intention means to consciously think every single day about the choices that we are making towards a particular direction or goal.
The truth is, though, that it gets very easy to forget the path that we’re on or easy to get distracted by other things that are going on around us. It demonstrates the idea of living on auto pilot. I’ll never forget reading an article that described the term “lizard brain.“ It illustrates how we could drive an entire trip to and from work, for instance, and never even remember the trip. It shows us the dangerous path of our mindless behavior.
So here is a great opportunity to think about ways that we can live life more mindfully, paying more attention to the small details in life. So, where can we begin?
Unplug yourself from technology- from your phone, your computer, from video games, from television, etc. Allow yourself silence. Now, granted, this may be a bit uncomfortable in the beginning, but will give you an opportunity to be more present with your thoughts and with the experiences that you were having in the day today.
While you may unplug yourself from as many things as possible on a daily basis, you may find that you cannot do so completely. There may be work emails, business emails, schoolwork, etc. that need to get addressed. What you can do, however, is set aside particular times of the day for this work. You might find that you will be much more present in the moment when you have dedicated time just for these tasks.
Break from your regular routine. If we go back to the “lizard brain“ drive home then we can keep our mind on the ball by changing patterns up. You can take a different route home for example so that the ride is not so predictable. You can do this with other parts of your day as well, for example, if you normally make phone calls first thing in the morning for your job perhaps you can make them later in the afternoon or you can change the place you park each day so that you have to think and remember where you parked.
Continue to try new things in your life. Remember the age old adage that success begins outside your comfort zone. When we are doing new things we can become much more aware of the practices and actions we are participating in.
With the above being said, when you’re trying new activities, make sure to participate in things that truly matter to you. You want to feel fulfilled when you spend your time doing things, especially since we live in a time where too often we struggle with the amount of time we have to spend on things we enjoy.
Participate in a mindfulness practice of your choosing. I don’t know what I would do without my daily mindfulness practice. I feel as though it keeps me balanced. Remember that it is a practice for a reason. It is not perfection! There are days that I participate in my practice and feel calm, and present, and in touch with my emotions in ways I never dreamed I could be. There are other days, I can barely manage to notice myself saying “breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.” Lol, like I said, it’s a practice…
Do you feel as though you are living with intention?
What helps you in doing so?