When I was visiting Chile last October, I purposely spent quality time with family, friends and devoted entire days just travelling south and to the desert.
Both; travel and family time brought great insight as I could give myself the right mind space to unwind and recharge after a life situation that wasn’t great. I needed to get disrupted, unstuck.
Finding space and time to reconnect may look like taking a weekend off or giving yourself a mini holiday/retreat-self care love.
When we make space to reconnect, we can hear what our heart is telling us, because the chatter in our head slowly decreases. In everyday life, the mind can wander and get easily distracted, as you may have already noticed. It is no coincidence that some people refer to it as the ‘monkey mind’. Always shifting, wondering, making some noise, distracting.
The monkey mind is like having the TV on all the time.
During my travels in Chile, I spent some fantastic time with a friend of mine; a high achiever professional sky guide from Colorado. We explored the Lake District and visited some of the cutest little towns of the region. One afternoon while driving back to the lodge, he asked me what I meant when I started talking about mindfulness. -What I found fascinating was that he was actually practicing mindfulness already, and in a regular basis without even knowing. He was practicing this by skiing almost everyday during peak season.
While he kept on driving, I explained;
-We are not our minds. It does sound a bit crazy as you might think.
-But how? My thoughts come from me!
-Agreed, but it doesn’t mean you are your thoughts. Your mind and YOU are two different things collated in the same package.
If you are up to a little challenge, follow this simple exercise I learnt from one of the best books I’ve read in the last year: ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle.
- Stay still and in silence for a moment.
- Intentionally don’t think of anything.
- Focus on your breath for a few seconds and notice if a thought comes up. When that happens, recall the thought and then let it go.
- Go back to the breathing.
While you are still focusing on your breath, ask yourself the following:
What will be my next thought? -See what happens.
Now, what did you notice? Were you waiting for a few seconds until the first thought came to mind?
You probably noticed you were in complete silence not having any little cheeky monkey in your mind! So, no thoughts, but you were still there, very present and conscious.
Then guess; who’s that observer behind the scene? Got it?
Yes! That’s YOU.
Welcome to consciousness! Yay!
When we are fully focused on an activity that demands our full concentration and we engage on it for a set period of time, we are experiencing mindfulness.
Pretty cool, isn’t it?
Commonly this term can be associated with meditation and yoga practices. The beauty of it is that mindfulness can be practiced through any activity that will engage your full attention in the present moment; like running, rock climbing, skiing, swimming, dancing, doing yoga, painting, drawing, etc. The list is endless.
Why is it relevant to be mindful?
The more you tune-in with your inner self, the more conscious you’ll become. In other words; you would gain awareness of your surroundings and yourself. Having access to better understanding of different situations, people, and most importantly, you.
You’ll become more intuitive and in alignment with your core values and heart.
‘You’ve got to find what you love, and that is true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life. And the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work; is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle. As of all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years follow. So keep looking. Don’t settle.’ – Steve Jobs
Those inspiring words by Steve Jobs were spoken at Stanford University in the graduation ceremony as part of an inspiring repertoire of Jobs’ best understanding of the real world and what truly matters at the end of the day.
What inspired him to give that speech was the realisation of his own mortality and that eventually our time on earth as humans is limited.
-So keep looking, don’t settle!
-Do what you love and do it often, the rest will follow.