Reading this quote from Thich Nhat Hanh gave me such a jolt. Was I really living life mindfully? Was I good at living? Or was I still busy doing? Take a moment as you read this to get a sense of how you are living your life.
“We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
living life mindfully
How true! Every time I used to go away, I saw the difference. At home, I used to prepare to live life and do all that is necessary to lead a decent one. I wasn’t actually experiencing it on a daily basis. Days would whizz by with all the things I needed to do. Yes, I was taking time out to care for myself. However, it took me a long time to realise that I was still not fully living life mindfully and in all its glory. Even when I was having time off, I was still doing and thinking about what I should be doing. My mind was still actively being busy. Rather than chilling out with no commitments, no real thoughts, just being.
You hear so often that even though you yearn to have a holiday or time out, you actually don’t know how to stop and have fun. You keep doing – sightseeing, running around shopping, and doing as much as possible. On a side, it is wonderful to see Obama with a big grin on his face appreciating time out with his family on Richard Branson’s private island. Now that is chilling out! That is not giving anything a thought other than being present and enjoying, of course, life mindfully.
Sometimes, it takes a major life-changing event to halt you in your tracks or give you another reminder of the importance of living life mindfully. Recently, my partner’s unexpected diagnosis stopped me short and made me reassess my life. It sent us both into a spin as it was so out of the blue forcing us to face mortality. Let me tell you, this really makes you look at your life, what you have done, what you want to still do, who you are, what is holding you back from just stepping out, getting on with it and LIVING LIFE MINDFULLY.
The biggest thing I learnt was to take time each morning setting my intentions of how I wanted my day to pan out. How did I want to feel? What did I want to experience? What would I do to make it the kind of day I wanted to have? And to realistically look at what I could achieve without over doing it. Part of being mindful is being able to know what is reasonable and what isn’t.
A while ago I wrote two short blogs about ‘You are more than your to-do list‘ and ‘Demystifying the never ending list‘. I dreaded my list for many years. This dictated my life and defined me. One minute I was celebrating that I have achieved what I wanted. The next I was feeling a failure as it was just as long again. And guess what? I was so busy worrying, I wasn’t getting anything done mindfully. Let alone being present in the moment.
When you live mindfully, you live in the moment with all its ups and downs. You don’t shy away from anything. You experience each and every day with those precious moments, such as a smile, an unexpected phone call, being with someone you love, having a chat and a laugh with a friend (or a few tears), and spending quality time with your family. There is such joy in mindful living. Your thoughts no longer kidnap you weaving all sorts of stories that take you from what is right there in front of you.
And take time out to be in stillness. This is such a lovely way of being mindful. I have found that sitting quietly meditating combined with writing helps you make sense of your life and what holds you back from doing what you actually want to be and being who you want to be. To find out more read my blog on ‘Finding Stillness within to be with Yourself‘.
This is a timely reminder of what is important: living – living fully with abundance in all our hearts.
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Chantal Vanderhaeghen is an intuitive guide, small business owner, creator of an international skincare brand, passionate philanthropist and meditation, reiki, tapping and mindfulness teacher. She works with women ready to make changes, shatters perceptions of beauty and perfection, and inspires people ready to become mindful entrepreneurs. She lives with her talented man in the Perth Hills and can be found online at www.unfoldyoufreedom.com.au
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