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The Fragrant Muse?

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Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, United States
I'm a Creative Soul and Happy Person. I have a passion for my Family, Aromatics, Fairy Gardens, Pugs, SoulCollage, Miniature Worlds, Visual Journals.


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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Being Here, Now

I've just spent 5 days with a zen master. He is 20-months old and has a complete grasp on living in the moment. No matter what he's doing, whether eating, playing with his toys or petting the dog, he gives it 100 percent attention. Though he doesn't have the mental maturity, scope of life or adult responsibilities I do, he is a constant reminder of how every experience is enriched when you give it your full attention. I've witnessed massage clients tell a story during their session then later ask, "did you work on my legs?" They weren't present for the experience.

Here are a four simple suggestions to help you begin to exercise your "awareness muscle" and bring the moment back into focus:
  • Become aware of your feet. You don't even have to stop what you're doing for this one which makes it great for mindfulness beginners. Don't do anything. No wiggling the toes or rolling the ankles. Simply shift your awareness to what your feet are feeling inside your shoes, or barefooted. Are they comfortable? Is there pressure anywhere? Are they cool or warm? In fact, stop right this minute while reading this, close your eyes and just feel your feet. I frequently do this when I am overwhelmed with demands and discover myself running around like a headless chicken.

  • Notice your breathing. When you notice your breathing pattern your mind naturally quiets and pays more attention to the present moment. Or find an auditory cue and everytime you hear it, focus on the breath and the moment. For example, when the phone rings, stop and take a deep breath. If the phone rings so often you find yourself in danger of hyperventilation, then find another auditory cue. How about a clock that chimes regularly? Does a train run near your home which sounds it's whistle? Find a "deep breath cue" and everytime you hear that sound, take a deep breath and bring your awareness to the present moment.

  • Minimize activities where you zone out. Ahhhhh zoning out, ain't it lovely? To just disappear in front of the tv or into that bag of oreos, surfing the net or shopping on QVC. Suddenly, no more bills, no more global warming. But also no more feeling the breeze coming in the window or hearing the crickets on a summer evening. We spend a lot of time giving our precious attention to mind numbing activities that draw us away from the present. Choosing to watch a favorite tv show or getting lost in a good book isn't bad. Just choose these activities mindfully, and limit the time you spend on them.
  • Of course the other side of zoning out is zoning in. Pursue activities that keep you engaged in the world around you and encourage you to be in the moment. Gardening, playing with a child, putting together a puzzle or any creative act like painting or playing an instrument all lend themselves to being in the moment.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a fairy garden waiting for new impatiens to be planted.


julochka said...

my feet are cold.

can you plant fairies?

smith kaich jones said...

Ahhhh, perfect post to start my day. My poor busted toe thanks you for slowing me down.

Oh, and I so know what you mean re: talking during the massage. No, no, no. I once had a massage therapist who never stopped talking. Never. AND she would talk about negative things. I had to leave her & find the fabulous woman I have been seeing for years & years, who speaks (during the massage) with her hands only.

Terrific post.

:) Debi

Janet said...

Ain't it the truth! I've observed the same thing with my granddaughter.

i like the auditory cue idea. i've even copied the front of Ram Dass's book "Be Here Now" and put it under the keyboard at my desk at work to try to remind myself (plus i just think it's really cool to look at). but how often do i look under the keyboard? i'm always afraid that my coworkers will start wondering (more than they already do) about me. but i think i'm ready to move it out in the open. i think they could ALL benefit from it.

Thanks for another great day-starter! and i'm looking forward to some pics of your fairy garden.

B said...

Really like this post. I find it so hard to be in the present! Always thinking ahead, I'm going to try your clues!
Talking while getting a massage? Crazy!

The Fragrant Muse said...

Julochka: Cold feet? Wonderful! That's awareness. Now go put on warm socks and get back to work so you can play with us again. WheeeCHaaaaa (sound of cracking whip). I don't actually plant the fairies, but I do give them little houses and put shiny things in the garden to attract them. I'm nine, remember?
Debi: Thank your poor busted toe for slowing you down! That massage therapist sounds like she needed self-care more than you. Good for you to move on.
Janet: Are kids the best teachers or what? Sometimes it takes a whole new generation of babies (i.e., grandkids) for us to "get it" though. Two thumbs up for Ram Dass! I remember you requested fairy garden pics ages ago. I haven't forgotten. Just teasing you is all ;-)
B: So true. I wrote this specifically because I'm so manic(husband calls me "a fart in a whilrwind") and need constant cues to tie me down so I don't go whirling off into the ethers.

rxBambi said...

I agree, it's a great morning read. I always have to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the day. I'm always thinking about what's coming next I forget to appreciate what I have. I began noticing this on vacations (only 5 days left, only 3 days left, only 1 more day..) and the whole time I was missing out on what was right in front of me. I need to learn how to zone in...any ideas on HOW?
ps- my feet are cozy (but I'm snuggled under covers while reading this)

The Fragrant Muse said...

Bambi: I also do the vacation count down and kick myself for it!

marinik said...

Oh, thanks for the attention to my feet,(I just realized they have been crammed in my shoes all day and are screaming for air).
Great post, and deep breath does so much for us... after a long chemo day with my husband at City of Hope.. I think I'll go do some deep breathing, and start my eve job, dinner... homework... etc. etc.
but hey I'm not complaining :)

The Fragrant Muse said...

marinik: I read your post and admire your courage. I can't even imagine the pain what you are going through. Essential oils can help to back cancer patients more comfortable. If you email me, I'll send you a list of ideas.

The Fragrant Muse said...

marinik: sorry that was "make" more comfortable.

McGillicutty said...

Ahhh yes to just pause. We have a game in the car where we take deep breaths and hold them when we're going up a hill, or sitting at a light whatever, it really does make you pause.
The feet thing.. love it, i love feet, the feeling of a new pedicure or digging them in the sand at the beach. I have bug bites on mine right now and I keep rubbing my toes on my sandal and it feeeeellllssss goooooddddd!!!!
love your post!!! Ali.(semi-newbee).