Ever get the sense that life is moving too fast?
Ever get the sense that the best days of your life might be gone before you know it?
You’re probably right. After all, we’re so bloody busy these days that we’ll walk right by genius and not even notice (go read the story and come back here. I’ll wait). We’ll pass by stunning natural beauty and not even blink an eye. Julien obliquely pointed this out the other week, but didn’t talk about how you can fix it, how you can fix yourself (which is irony given the retreat he did at a Zen temple).
Here’s how you fix it. It’s simple, but not easy.
You were perhaps expecting something more? Think about that word, just that word for a second. Remind. Re + mind. As in to put back into your mind. This is how you avoid missing your entire life. This is how you avoid seeing everything go by and waking up at the age of 40/50/60/70/80/the day before you die, wondering what happened and why you feel so damn empty inside.
Okay, how? Here’s how. This part is easy if you can remember to do it.
At selected intervals throughout the day, sit up straight, take a deep breath, and promise yourself that no matter what you’re about to experience, you’ll find something to enjoy in it. About to sit down to eat? Take that deep breath and promise that you’ll enjoy at least the first bite (slowly!), even if you’re in a hurry to eat the rest of your meal. About to go outside? Take a deep breath and promise to find and look at for at least a moment one beautiful thing. Easy to do these days with fall foliage. About to come home from work? Take a deep breath and promise to enjoy at least the first moment when you walk in the door, knowing you’re home – even if everything afterwards isn’t as perfect as you’d like.
Here’s the hard part: remind yourself. Remember to do this. I like to set an alarm on my calendar (which promptly buzzes and rings every device around me). Set up a schedule on your Google calendar or PDA or Outlook or whatever it takes to prompt you a few times a day to do this. You can do it before meals, or every hour on the hour, whatever your technology supports. Remember, this isn’t a big deal or investment of time, literally and figuratively just a minute to catch your breath from the rat race and appreciate something – anything – that you can.
Your mind gets used to habits very quickly. Why not make a habit of finding something beautiful in your life all the time? This is how you start – by reminding yourself to do so frequently.
In the next blog post, we’ll talk a bit more about other ways to really improve your ability to get more out of your life. Stick around.
Credit: ideas from this blog post are derived from exercises by Stephen K. Hayes.
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