Exasperated, my Mom rolled her eyes and told Dad to “Quit running!” He was sitting at the time, but his mind was running, running, running. Brushing imaginary dust off the table, jerking to attention when startled by an idea, opening and closing his book, fussing with one of the endless lists that spilled out of his pockets, holding his head and shrinking over a new worry – his hyper drive mental activity was visible for all to see. I laughed while my jokester Dad pouted and pretended his feelings were hurt – and felt some relief that Mom didn’t say the same thing to me.
Fidgeting in a chair as my brain bounces and leaps about is my normal state. Unfortunately, a brain that is a jumbled mess of activity puts on quite a show for those around us. We not only annoy others with our antsy behaviors, we annoy our doctors with things like skyrocketing blood pressure, and we annoy ourselves when lack of focus results in silly mistakes.
When I first heard the word Mindfulness, I thought, I can do that! Paying attention to what you are doing in the present moment of time makes perfect sense. How hard could that be?
My failure to achieve instant mindfulness was a surprise. Thoughts invariably zipped about madly, tripping over themselves in the race to bypass whatever I was determined to focus on. After landing briefly on tomorrow, thoughts would fly on over to next week, only to return to a month ago, all in a concerted effort to occupy any time except The Present. Not one to take failure easily, I intensified my efforts.
I read a lot and practiced: This is me. This is me Here. This is me doing This right now. This is me not thinking about what we will do this weekend when we go…, this is me wishing I had more time to … oh shiny! Zoom!
Getting mad at me for running about mentally only made it more difficult to slow down. Would I be angry at a first grader who couldn’t do advanced calculus? Of course not; the kid needs time to learn and practice. I’m a neophyte in the land of mindfulness and needed to cut me some slack. So how do I put the brakes on my mind? My mind boggled a bit, then shot off in multiple directions. Smiling, I gathered up the mental bits and returned them to Now.
Lesson repeated until learned.
This line or “mantra” helped me a lot. There is no shame or failure in repeating a lesson. Just notice when thoughts begin to dash madly about, corral them, and gently return them to Now and This. No chastisement. No time frame for success. No limit to the number of times you are allowed to redirect yourself back to the present. Repeat the process as needed, admire yourself for mindfully noticing when you are not at all mindful, and then refocus.
Mindfulness got a little easier when I chose a terrific object to focus on – great food. Learning curve now deliciously focused, I realized that mindfulness was something I could do. It was not a cinch, but it was a lot easier.
Join me in slowing down to pay attention to food. Take time to notice what’s on your plate. Admire how the meal looks, smells, and tastes. Learn how and why it got there. I bet your blood pressure goes down. If not, you will make some awesome meals and have a wonderful time.
Welcome to my website. Take your time when you are here and enjoy. No running allowed… but if you do zip around a little, gently return to paying attention and enjoy some good food.