I received a lot more feedback than usual about the SoundBite from last week. I especially enjoy receiving feedback that challenges my ideas and concepts. So this week, I’d like to address what I presented last week and explain how you can apply it to your life. We can talk all we want about how we’d like to ideally live but what use are these ideas if they aren’t applied? I’ve broken them down into 3 lessons and this week I’d like you to practice and master lesson #1.
What I’ll explain, may or may not make sense and either way, you may feel that you can relate to my observations but you may think that what I’m asking you to “practice” is perhaps a concept for someone else and that it doesn’t really apply to you…that you and your life are an exception and there’s too much to get done, too much to worry about, and too much of life’s stresses to possibly even fathom applying any of these to your life. You’re saying, “I don’t have time! I have too much to do!” Well, you, my dear reader, are exactly the person I’m writing this for.
You may even think that perhaps it’s easier for me because I’m just some crazy yogi with few stresses, no family to take care of, and I get to practice yoga and meditate all day. To tell you the truth, I’ve come a long way since the day of stressful corporate life and have made conscious choices about the kind of life I’d like to live. Perhaps stressful office environments where the pressure to perform and the stress of office politics are to be thanked because they are experiences that motivate me to do what I do now so that I can offer you reprieve from the pressures and stresses of your professional and personal life.
SCHOOL OF AWARENESS: LESSON #1
MY OBSERVATION: Often times I notice that I may be doing something as simple as walking the dog and suddenly remind myself of what I need to get done and feel an urgency to hurry up so I can move on to my next task…we are often times in a rush to finish something only so that we can move on to do something else.
YOUR PRACTICE THIS WEEK: Notice when your mind is being bombarded with thoughts and you begin to feel pulled in several directions. These are distractions and they pull you away from the Present moment. To combat these distractions, one way is to notice sensations in your body that are signaling stress or tension-perhaps you’ll feel tension in your head, constriction in your chest, or tightness in your jaw. Everyone feels and experiences stress differently. Observe how it shows up for you. Once you are aware that your body is feeling stress, you can bring yourself back into the Now moment.
Another way to combat distraction is to simply notice when your attention has diverted away from your present task. Make a conscious decision to be 100% present with every task you do. So if you’re sitting at your desk typing an email and the phone rings and you decide to answer the phone, then you need to stop typing and give the person at the end of that line your full attention. Otherwise, don’t answer the phone or tell them you’ll call them back. If you decide to do both at the same time, the email will not be as well written (because you’re distracted by the phone conversation) and your conversation with the person won’t be as focused (because you’re distracted by your email). Thus, a half-assed written email and a half-assed phone conversation equals half-assed results. Do you only want your efforts to produce 50% of what you’re capable of? Of course not.
Practice this for the next 7 days and I’ll check in with you next Tuesday!