Life moves so fast and many of us seem to be running as fast as we can, not sure if we are keeping up.
We rush to achieve deadlines, we rush to get out the door, to arrive on time, we even rush to start relaxing when we are going on holidays! So much to do and it seems so little time, or so little down time.
Sometimes we arrive at our destination, and then stop to think, I don’t actually remember driving here. Our minds have an ‘auto pilot’ switch, as our bodies unconsciously go through motions we focus on a conversation we had or want to have, or a to do list we want to remember, or any past or future event.
How many times have we been involved in a conversation with someone when we realise we have not been paying attention to what they’re saying, and we all know how it feels then you are talking to someone and you know they were not really there to hear you.
With all the increasing distractions around us all vying for our attention, the thought of stopping and doing one thing seems like a waste, or even old fashioned. Surely we can check tonight’s weather while we’re walking to the bus and listening to our favourite radio podcast.
It’s little wonder that mindfulness is a hot topic right now.
A fully connected focus, as our expert collaborator Terry Orlick calls it, is ‘a complete positive connection with an experience, learning opportunity, performance, action, or interaction’, where there is a feeling of being totally absorbed in the experience we are in.
It is the biggest key to the highest possible level of performance or achievement in any arena, and Terry has released numerous research papers and books on the subject spanning decades of researching and teaching focused on the keys to excellence in sport and life.
Mindfulness is also achieved by focused awareness on the present moment, while also calmly acknowledging and accepting our feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, whatever they might be.
Try it now. As you are reading this, bring your awareness to the feel of your body, your legs and feet, the feel of your clothing against your skin, your feet on the floor or your body in a chair, notice your breath, as it enters your body and leaves it, the inhalation and exhalation. Become aware of the sensations in your head, in your face, your heart beating in your chest, your eyes, your arms, your hands. Just notice without deciding if it is good or bad, right or wrong.
There are so many gifts to appreciate when we are present. True Presence or fully connected focus is the gift that keeps on giving in so many ways. Here are just some of those:
Being fully connected in the moment allows you to learn anything more effectively, and it allows you to then deliver your optimum possible performance within any area you choose to focus on – a conversation, cooking a meal, an important presentation or that final golf shot.
Fully connecting and focusing with another person is a gift that they will feel, see and hear and so will you. It is the ultimate gift you can give someone, and it doesn’t cost a cent.
Fully connecting with a moment within your body allows you to savour a warm relaxing bath, or feel the loving warmth within a hug, or experience the sensation of your muscles stretching and activating as you exercise, and it can even allow you to better manage or even minimize the experience of pain.
Being fully connected allows us to truly experience appreciation – as we focus on our senses completely we can really see the colour in that sky, hear that bird’s beautiful song, feel the breeze softly tickle our skin or smell the freshness of the trees or ocean. And noticing the simplest joyful experiences in our lives helps hard wire our brains for more contentment in life.
Being fully connected in the moment is really the only place where we can truly experience peace and love and contentment. Worry and fear are often experienced when we are imagining the future, and blame and guilt generally exist in the past. It is only right here and right now that we truly have the opportunity to experience the emotions we want to feel more often.
The great thing about focus and mindfulness is that we all have the ability, and we can all make the choice, the decision to be here more, and then act on that decision, at any moment. The quality of our lives depends on our ability to experience and appreciate the individual moments that make up our life experience.
And the best time to start is always right now.
Dr. Terry Orlick