I am in recovery. I suffer from incessant and insufferable worrying. The truth is, that for a long time, I never even realized it was a problem. My entire life has been filled with worry mostly fueled by fear of the unknown. It happened innocently enough, as a result of being raised to believe that fear was a gift that kept you safe. It was the key to ensuring that you made choices that didn’t have the potential to wreck your entire life. Recently, I began to wonder how much time I had spent (translation: wasted) pondering the issues of life that were beyond my control. It occurred to me that all those minutes, hours, and sometimes days, collectively would add up to a massive amount of time. Following that realization, came a declaration: I want my life back. I was growing tired of allowing people and situations the power to strip me of life’s most precious moments. It would be easy for me to come up with a lengthy and detailed list of experiences that I had missed. Often times, my physical self was present but, my mind was miles and miles away. So, I was determined to reclaim those pockets of time where I could be falling more deeply in love with my life. Just think about this for a second…how would your life change if you made a choice to worry less or not at all? To be clear, a decision not to worry isn’t a decision not to care. It is a decision to come to terms with the simple fact that there are things you cannot change. It is a decision to spend less time trying to change others and outcomes and a choice to leverage your own power over your thoughts and actions. You see, life is unpredictable and that is a truth we must be willing to accept. The beauty of acceptance is the inevitable discovery that we are not powerless against the whims of our circumstances. Spend less time resisting and more time creatively conjuring up a plan to live well regardless of how life unfolds.
I am a work in progress, but I have made managing my thoughts a priority. My first step was to begin a mindfulness practice. I know how this sounds to some, but it really is just about being aware and present. How often are you having dinner with someone and you notice that your mind has wandered off somewhere far from the conversation? Being mindful, is just the practice of bringing yourself back to the moment you are in…at the table, with your friend, focusing on the words that they are offering you. The key to this is awareness. Pay attention to how often your mind wanders throughout the day. When you realize that you aren’t where you’re supposed to be, take a breath and kindly escort yourself back to the present. Another subtle way to practice mindfulness is through the art of observation. This can literally take less than a minute.
The next time you are brunching, take a moment to really observe that yummy cocktail you are about to enjoy. Pay attention to the shape of the glass, the variations in color, the garnishments, and the condensation pooling at the bottom. Take that first sip slowly, notice how the temperature of the glass feels against your skin, inhale the fruity aroma, taste the flavors, and lean into the effervescence that tickles your nose. You just totally elevated brunch. Obviously, this can also be done with blackberry iced tea. You will find that once you notice one thing, you will begin to notice another and you become more curious about your surroundings and your experiences. Before you know it, you are so in to it, you have worried a little less one mindful minute at a time.
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