“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
For almost a decade, this quote has sat perched just above my computer screen in my office.
I naively thought that hanging this quote at my sight line with it’s sandy beach and crystal blue ocean image might help me be more mindful. And while, on occasion, I do glance at it – and slow myself down long enough to be grateful for the overwhelming blessings in my life – I’ve learned it takes a lot more than glancing at a quote to be mindful. It takes work.
For me, mindfulness is being “present” with myself and with others. For others, it’s listening (and I mean really listening) and not thinking about anything else except what that person is saying and how they are feeling. It’s listening with such love and intention that they feel like they are the most important person in my life in that moment.
Being mindful with myself is when I’m acutely aware that I have slipped into autopilot – a machine-like state where the minutes go by like seconds, and the hours fly by like minutes. When I come home from work and burn through an entire season on Netflix to avoid being alone with my thoughts, it’s clear I’ve peaked mindlessness and need to work my way back to mindfulness.
I thrive on being productive and truthfully, all too often, it is my insatiable productivity that derails my well-meaning efforts to be more mindful.
Fortunately, I’m aware of my potential pitfalls into mindlessness – and when I slip (and I do slip …a lot) – after a proverbial smack, I forgive myself and consciously get back to the practice of being more mindful.
Being mindful is not easy in our noisy, distracting world today – and like anything great worth achieving – it takes work and commitment. That said, I can think of no greater gift you can give yourself and those around you.
I know this sounds cliche but it’s undeniable true, being “present” is truly a gift.