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Mindful : August 2016
We all live tense, stress-filled lives packed with back-to-back meetings, appointments, and tasks. Perpetual busyness, which used to be intermittent enough that we could see contrast between chock-full days and the others, seems like it might be the new norm in the 21st century. Socked in with activity; no break in our schedules. So what can we do to clear the air? To function with competence calls for perspective that’s hard to find when we’ve got our heads down, forging through a neverending to-do list, hoping things will work out. The kind of per- spective that brings focus and clarity comes from space. And while we may not always have a choice about clear- ing our calendars, we can make the choice to clear our minds of the habitual momentum that blocks creativity and compassion. And, at times, we may find that access to creativity and compassion can lead to a little more space in the day. In any event, we can always begin to be more mindful of our busyness and how we are choosing to meet the moments of our daily lives. If we are able to take a break, a vacation, a retreat, or just spend some time in nature, we notice that we return replenished and ready to make a positive difference. But that feeling doesn’t last. And that kind of break is not usually on our schedules. What, then, can we do? One powerful tool is taking Purposeful Pauses, mini-breaks in the momentum and speed of our mind and our days. They give us the space to reset and re-center, and when we do, we’re more likely to make conscious choices about our work and our activities that are productive, creative, and compassionate. And, most importantly, they take hardly any time at all. A Purposeful Pause interrupts the fog that gathers when we’re on autopilot, pushing our way through the day. It’s not all that hard to bring about a break in the clouds and when we do, we can gain new perspective on each moment. Try experimenting with these five ideas, and see if your days begin to feel a little different. The training isn’t difficult; it’s remembering to take a pause that’s the hard part. Little by little, you will begin to more quickly notice when you are not present. And little by little, as your meditation practice grows and you become more familiar with your body sensations and the activity of your mind, you’ll find your own ways to experiment with Purposeful Pauses to support you during even the most chaotic days. Be gentle and patient with yourself. Most of us have lived lives of such constant distraction that learning how to be more present takes some time. Like fitness for the body, however, the reward for training your mind and opening your heart is the potential to live your best life. Mindfulness practices like the Purposeful Pause can teach you how to bring some sunshine to those gray busy days. → PHOTOGRAPHSBYPLAINPICTURE/PONTON/TOMGRILL(LEFT)ANDPLAINPICTURE/C12/ROGERKISBY(RIGHT)