There is much more to living than owning things.
Connecting deeply with other humans. Travel and exploration. The expansion of your mind through learning and practicing new skills. Being, truly being, where you are.
No one was ever who they were truly meant to be because of what they owned; rather, it was by what they did.
But there are reinventions.
We can’t go back and change how we reacted to a situation. Or make a different decision when the opportunity arose. Or bobbed when we should have weaved, etc.
So maybe we kick ourselves, reliving that moment over and over again. “If only I’d done it this way,” or “that way.”
Whatever the case may be, we cannot undo it. We don’t get another shot at that moment. It’s gone.
What we do have is the here and now. And at this moment, we can reframe our understanding of the past. Instead of kicking ourselves for missed opportunities, or shoddy decision-making, we can reinvent that moment as a time of learning.
We learned how we don’t want to react. That same situation will likely never come around. Similar situations will. And when they do arise, we’ll have a better idea of how we want to respond. We’ll be able to move forward, rather than dwell in the past.
When we go through the day, we tend to live in reactive modes. Taking inputs, and responding.
Like I wrote yesterday, carving out time is one way to establish creative time. It’s because time spent outside of incessant noise is time spent with yourself.
Meditation and mindfulness will produce the same result, but only with practice.
“Tis the gift to be simple, tis the gift to be free.” – 19th Century Shaker Song
There is immense enjoyment in the simple task if you know how to look for it. Sipping coffee, brewing tea, or shaving, for example.
Not only can it be pleasurable, but it can also be meditative. In Thich Nat Hahn’s The Miracle of Mindfulness, he mentions a book of meditations titled The Essential Discipline for Daily Use. A book of small sentences designed for the reader to “take hold of his own consciousness.”
When the mind engages wholly in the simple task, then all troubles seem to fade away.
Let’s say you are stuck. You’ve found yourself in a rut that you can’t seem to get out of. Maybe it’s work; maybe it’s a relationship; maybe it’s everything. What do you do?
Like all good programs, the first step is admitting the problem. And you’ve done that now. You have a problem – it’s a rut.
The next step gets harder. Part of solving it is being mindful throughout your day.
The other part is taking an honest inventory of your life. Notice where your attention is pulled. Do you have trouble performing certain tasks as opposed to others? What are you phoning in? What doesn’t really interest you?
If you say it’s your entire job, then maybe it’s time to find something else. But most people tend to enjoy certain aspects of their work, if not the entire situation. Find ways to rekindle that interest.
The same can be true of relationships. Some of the interactions may not be working, but there are probably parts that you still really enjoy. Be honest with yourself.
When we get in a rut, we can put blinders on. We try to ignore where the problem actually is, and focus on the fact that we’re just not feeling particularly happy with our situation. But we have to be honest.
Take a good, hard look. And then evaluate.
There’s a flip-side to routines: complacency. Complacency breeds a feeling of settling. Settle enough times, and you find yourself in a rut.
First of all, it’s easy to find yourself complacent in your situations. Routines can be used to auto-program your life, and then you can just set the cruise control. How to prevent this? Be mindful.
Being mindful in your day-to-day will create moments of miraculous significance – even in the mundane. Being mindful will illicit feelings of joy, and sorrow, and peace. Complacency means you’re looking at your situation and you’re okay with it.
Peace is looking at the situation and knowing that it’s exactly where you are meant to be.
The wasting of potential through unthoughtful and unaccounted for hours in the day. Nearly anything can be a time suck if allowed to be. Some things I’ve noticed – video games, email, social media, Netflix. While none are inherently time-suckers, using them in an unmindful way will suddenly resulted in wasted hours.
When used to distract from something else, they merely sap your attention. These diversions can take many forms, but they all will waste the most precious commodity that we only have so much of – time.
Mindfully approaching your day-to-day experiences will eliminate the need for diversion, and give you control over more of your time.