On Track

HOW is it Tuesday again? Just a couple weeks before Halloween, and then it's Thanksgiving, then my sister's birthday, and then my dad's birthday, and then Christmas, and then New Year's and then I'll have a 3 year old.

See? This is how my mind works. 

And I have a feeling that your mind works a little like this, too.

This week's question comes from R.:

Q. With so much happening around me, how do I stay on track with what I want to do?

A. "The hardest part of listening is finding the quiet to hear." The Rise of Scar

Yes. In addition to current songs and popular movies, my Guides speak to me through my kid's morning cartoons. As I sat down to answer this question, this is what came on tv. Thanks, Team!

As I was about to say, the key to staying on track is to find ways to turn down the Outside World track, turn down the Mindless Chatter track, and turn up the Inner Wisdom track instead.

In the same way that Katniss from The Hunger Games needs to focus and breathe and steady her hands before letting go of the arrow, we will be better able to focus and aim for what we want when we learn to quiet the mind and calm the body first.

Ok, but HOW?

Sure, meditation and yoga are the #1 most recommended ways, and I absolutely can vouch for them, too.

I'm sure you've heard it before, and right now, you're either should-ing on yourself to meditate more, or listing the reasons why meditation didn't work for you.

However, did you know there are other ways calm the mind?

Anything that gets you into that state of empty focused flow is perfect.When time stands still and ticks by without you noticing. Something that you do that makes you forget where you are, or forget that it's time to eat lunch until you hear your stomach grumble at you.

What is your thing? It could be gardening. Washing dishes, scrubbing floors or knitting. Working on your car. Or blow drying your hair. Taking a hot shower. Stretching and breathing. Everybody has something. And it doesn't have to be a special, out of the ordinary thing.

I'm not talking about scrolling on Facebook or watching a movie. Yes, those can be mindless (and fun!), and yes, you can forget that time exists, but these often add to the mental noise and numb the brain. Activities like these let the noise steal the car, leaving both mind and body behind in the dust.

Instead, I'm talking about putting your body in the driver's seat, while your mind calls shotgun, engaging both mind and body in a relaxed and almost passive way. 

Twist ending: What I'm talking about is essentially a mindful approach to everyday life, choosing to engage your senses as you fully participate in any ordinary activity. Look up mindfulness on Google for more ideas.

5 Minute Reset: Take 5 minutes to go do something ordinary in an extraordinarily present way. Because we're not monks living in silence on the top of a mountain, it makes sense that we're not going to be in mindfulness all day long, at least while we're starting out. So the next time you're feeling like you want to jump out of your skin from overwhelm or stress, take a 5 Minute Reset. Notice your breathing. Feel what muscles or limbs are engaged. Notice the sounds around you, as if they're on your life soundtrack playlist.

Just be where you are for a sec. Take as many 5 Minute Reset breaks as you need throughout the day. And it doesn't need to be 5 minutes. It can be 2. The point is to actually take them.

Do it! I promise you'll feel better NOW, and BONUS, you'll be better able to sort through the noise when you jump back in.

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Thanks for asking a stellar question, R.!

Is there anything in this answer that sparked another question? What else would you like to learn about?

Email me with more burning questions, and yours might be featured in an upcoming newsletter!

Sylvia Hendershott