One of my intentional goals in living a happy, flourishing and prosperous life is to be more intentionally mindful, in more moments, more often.
Recently I completed a reflective exercise as part of my study for my Master Degree in Applied Positive Psychology and I’ve been recording/journaling at the end of every day my reflections on how often I was engaged in activities and how often I was on auto-pilot.
I think it would be weird (maybe even neurotic) to be ‘in-the-moment’ for every moment of any day, and I’m happy to go into auto-pilot and allow habit to kick in throughout the day.
But there are some times and situations where I intentionally set pattern interrupts in my life to remind me to savour moments – especially those that I’m truly fortunate to experience.
For example, it would be easy to not stop every morning and evening and just take for granted the amazing bay view we have from our home… but I have a little ritual I go through most mornings to stop, look, breathe and savour the view, and do the same just before I go to bed of an evening.
I think intention and awareness are very important to allow me to catch myself out-of-a-moment.
Because of my intention to be more intentionally mindful in more moments, more often, I do catch myself when my mind wanders in conversations and I quickly bring myself back into the moment (often with a sincere apology to the person I’m conversing with).
Food preparation for our evening meal is often a mindful activity for me, where I’m really concentrating not only on what I’m doing, but more broadly about the food itself… the colour, texture, aroma, and of course taste.
As I went for a long distance run yesterday, I was often moving from habit/auto-pilot into mindfulness, into moments of flow, and back to habit/auto-pilot.
As I watched TV this week, I realised, at least for me, this is mostly a mindless and passive activity. Sure, it depends on what I’m watching, but mostly, I’m more often just choosing things other than watching TV.
I think there is as Aristotle suggested a ‘mean’ or balance with mindfulness that is worth considering.
For most of us, our lives don’t allow us to be mindful and in each and every moment… practically it’s just not possible. However, to aim to be more mindful, in more moments, more often sets an intention to bring our attention to moments of potential truth in our lives that will help us live more, rather than exist on a day to day basis and miss some of the magic that surrounds us, but that we might have become accustomed to.