By Jim Sobosan
OOPS! There I go again, tumbling down those basement steps. As I lay at the bottom of the stairs looking towards the top where I had begun in an upright position, I wondered, why do I unintentionally keep doing things that hurt so much? After some pondering, I realized, the key word to my question was unintentional.
I fell because I wasn’t focused on not falling. Neither my thoughts nor actions were intentional. Rather than being mindful of what I was doing at that moment, I let my thoughts race toward, my shirt that needed ironing, my fear of being late for work and man’s best friend who had yet to be fed. I thought about everything except those feet needing to touch those steps. When I walk down a flight of stairs I should only be walking down that flight of stairs and nothing more. It is a simple rule with a consistently successful outcome that I often fail to adhere to throughout the race that is my life.
How effective and efficient would our efforts be if we made sure to maintain awareness of every behavior, action and step that sustained or impeded our journey? Can we be intentional without being mindful? I doubt it.
Mindfulness is a process of observation and heightened awareness that increases our potential for mastery over our behaviors, environment and our life outcomes. Had the chicken been more mindful, it may never have crossed the road, and if it had it would surely have crossed it at night or early morning when the traffic was low and its chance for success high.
So why don’t we utilize this concept more consistently? I believe it ‘s because we get lost on the conveyor belt of life, which carries us too swiftly through our days. Most of the time we have little focus on what we are doing or why we are doing it. Life becomes a habit rather than a choice. We have tremendous demands upon our time, attention and energy. Our societal norm is based on more and more and faster and faster. This pace does not support an opportunity for calm reflection and attentive action. Nay, It supports reacting to the moment instead of being in the moment.
How do we become mindful? Set aside time each day to become aware of your actions, thoughts, distractions and feelings. Ask yourself; Am I in sync with my goals, priorities and values? Mindful observation provides clarity and awareness and a greater opportunity for self-actualization. Intentional action cultivates success and a life that is in harmony with your personal values, interests and beliefs.
Know what and who is driving your train. Understand where you are going and why, while ensuring a safe arrival with an intentional plan.
Remember! If a chicken talks you into crossing the road, know what prompted you to say ok and always, always make sure the chicken goes first.