How do you react to the sight of muddy paw-prints on your nice clean floors when your pet dogs and children race inside to tell you what they found in the garden?
Is it to yell at them for making a mess?
Or do you take a deep breath and pause from whatever it was you were doing and listen to their excited tales of finding a hedgehog, a birds-egg, or seeing a Monarch butterfly make its way out of its chrysalis?
All too often we miss the wonder and beauty of the moment; because we are wrapped up in certain ideals or expectations. Deep down we may know that many of these expectations are unrealistic – yet we still become anxious and stressed when they happen anyway.
In the scenario above, focusing on what we don’t have (clean floors), can lead to misery and suffering – the conversations in our head are negative and aggressive. We may take our frustration out on the children or others around us.
What if instead we focused on the children's delight and happiness, the beauty of nature and sharing a special moment of discovery; we allow ourselves to become energised and lifted – the result is we feel joy and happiness.
Often we can’t change the situation – but we can certainly change how we react to it.
So how do we maintain a sense of calm in such circumstances? What if you were to able to let small annoyances just drift on by, and not allow them to ruffle your sense of peace?
John Lennon had it right: “Let it be…” These were his "Words of Wisdom".
Embrace the art of letting life and all that happens to be just as it wants to be; with no forcing and not allowing our attachment to a specific outcome to cloud what is happening in the moment.
We’ve heard talk of mindfulness, and becoming more aware – but what does it actually mean in in terms of our everyday life, and how does being mindful help us to be happy?
Being mindful is simply focusing our attention on whatever is before us. So if you’re washing the dishes – you are just washing the dishes. You’re not allowing yourself to become distracted; you’re enjoying the warm soapy bubbles, marveling at the rainbow colours; and you’re delighting in the fact that you are finally able to get that baked on piece of cheese out of the corner of the baking dish… You become aware of all the physical sensations associated with the task of washing the dishes. Your body and mind is fully connected to what is happening as you wash the dishes. You soon discover there is enjoyment and beauty in an everyday task.
Being mindful also allows us to say “No” to multi-tasking! To really achieve something our full attention needs to be applied – so say “Yes” to mindfulness and single-tasking!
For me the recipe for bringing more calm and happiness into my life is to take time to enjoy whatever is before me, open my eyes to the wonder and beauty of nature, and to leave my expectations of what ‘should happen’ out of the situation.
And if there is something unpleasant happening, know that "this too will pass"…