I remember my childhood filled with languid days of playing, exploring and creating. Time passed slowly. But as I matured, my life grew harried and time streaked by, leaving me deflated and worn down.
So why was my life like this? I’d lost my child-like ability to find wonder in the world around me. Instead, I focused on what I needed to accomplish rather than live in the moment. When I’d taught preschool, I’d watch the toddlers’ fascinations with their surroundings. Young kids focus on the now.
Adults dwell on what needs to be done.
Over the years, we face growing family responsibilities, tight schedules and financial juggling. Adults tend to dwell on the stressful week ahead of us, after-work errands, what to fix for dinner, household repairs, and so on.
Should we break this habit?
Of course, we should plan, but we also need to make time to experience now. Living a harried existence is hard on our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. By worrying about the future, we inhibit our ability to enjoy the current moment. When time quickly passes, we miss important instances that could be savored; times that can foster closer relationships with others, or help us better appreciate our worth and infuse joy and wonder into our busy lives.
How to increase your awareness.
Here are a few ways I’ve been able to break free of my daily grind and slow down time.
- Savor nature: Stroll in the hills, sit in a verdant park, feed wild birds, feel the breeze on your face. Note the sounds, scents and colors around you. Drink in the complex simplicity of the world.
- Immerse yourself in art: Create or contemplate the creations of others.
- Meditate in a quiet place: Push out all worries and focus on your body and how it feels. Breathe deeply. Close your eyes and listen to the silence.
- Focus on your family, friends, and pets: Notice their facial expressions, emotions, endearing quirks. Hold your child. Pet your dog. Caress your spouse. Pay attention to how it feels to touch someone you care about.
- Listen for the divine: Turn off the television or the radio and allow yourself to grow comfortable with stillness. Create some technology-free time each day. Ignore your smartphone, Facebook, email and video games.
What techniques help you fully enjoy each moment?