Thoughts for a Friday: The Present

Photo by Tinjoe Mbugus

I wanted to share some ideas and resources with you from this past week, specifically, how to embrace the present.

Breathing

Important stuff right? Seriously though, there is a lot of benefits to breathing, besides staying alive. I was talking with a friend the other day about the impact of intentional deep breathing exercises to activate our body and mind. Deep breathing brings more oxygen into our bodies, which improves blood flow through our bodies, which improves blood flow to our brains; and who wouldn’t want a healthier brain?

With an activated body and mind, we can bring more of ourselves to each moment. This state of bringing ourselves into a moment is called mindfulness. In this state, we find a way to embrace the present with all that is present in the present. Here is a great description of mindfulness from Jon Kabat-Zinn:

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally.”

– Jon Kabat-Zinn

Non-judgementally is the key here, because the present can be full of many things that could be labeled as distractions. Therefore, I encourage each of you to take a moment to breathe deeply, and enter into the present.

Gratefulness

I have been intrigued by and somewhat resistant to the idea of gratefulness journaling. Intrigued because of the results people experience from this practice, resistant because it sounds kind of cheesy. Where does this resistance come from? I’m not sure, because the idea of acknowledging what we are grateful for is something that I believe in strongly, so why would journaling those things be any different. That being said, I started a gratefulness journal this week.

Though it feels like a chore to me, it has opened my eyes to the beauty unfolding all around me. Through this act of choosing to start my day by writing down something that I am grateful for, I have found a renewed appreciation for my daughters, my family, and the sun. The resistance must have been based on starting the habit.

Here are the guidelines I use for my journaling:

  1. Write about something I am grateful for that I have experienced within the last 24 hours. Whether it is the very moment I am in or the food I ate the day before, I am using this journal as a way to embrace and recognize the present.
  2. Write something new. I choose to stretch my mind and heart to acknowledge the vast beauty of life. If I wrote about eating bread yesterday, today I won’t just write about that bread again (Though I do love bread).
  3. Take that gratefulness with me through the day so I remember what I am thankful for. For example, I wrote about the warmth of the sun one day, so I made sure to get out and soak up some of that sun.

I hope that these inspirations serve you this weekend, and that we all take time to be grateful and breathe in the present.

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