Mindfulness is all the trend these days – you can scarcely open a Twitter, Instagram or Facebook post, read a magazine article or switch on the TV without seeing something about this latest and greatest concept. I’m a pretty skeptical person when it comes to trends and fads. This one I ignored at first…
Over the holidays, I enjoyed some downtime from teaching online and in the classroom. I enjoyed the break from a whirl of constant activity and I began to think … Is it possible to break the cycle of constant activity, to sort the clutter from the chaos, to find time in my life for everything that is really important, to catch a breath. My time, like everyone else, is scarce. I need to find some way of focusing on the key things and get some balance between work and the rest of my life.
I came across a book “The Art of Stopping Time” by Pedram Shojai. His premise is: time is scare and being aware in the present moment is a way of reclaiming time. In his book, he describes a series of daily activities (he calls them gongs) that help to slow the swirl of constant activity and develop a better connection with time. So I decided to follow his advice …
So, on Day 1, I visualized my life as a garden, focusing on the things I need to nurture in my ‘garden’, things that are important to me. On Day 2, I worked on gratitude, considering the things for which I am grateful. Day 3 was on being in nature. Unfortunately, that was a -20 degree day, so my being in nature involved shoveling snow from the driveway. Not really meditative, more fast and furious, thought I did hear chickadee chirpings and noticed a beautiful blue sky! Day 4 was a focus on e-mail time and how not to let responding to e-mails chew up your day. Day 5 focused on taking time to chill – booking some downtime on your calendar to pause and do things other than work e.g. read a book, go for a walk etc. Day 6 was about being anxious and how to leverage that time when you are feeling anxious for self-growth. Day 7 was about making time in our calendar for self-care. Day 8 was about your daily workouts. The suggestion was to do an intensive workout outside, but, as another negative temperature day beckoned, so this wasn’t really feasible, but I will use the idea of doing a short and intensive daily workout. Day 9 was about digesting your thoughts- the importance of giving yourself time to analyze and process information, events and feelings and spend some time thinking about them. The suggestion to use workout as a time to integrate and process thoughts is one I use on a regular basis.
So far, so good. I’ve created a daily morning routine of reading and reflecting on one of the daily activities from the book. I find I am calmer, more conscious of how I use my time, and more mindful of the world around me in my day to day activities.
Susan-Clancy Kelly, Contributing Editor
Northwoods HRD Consulting
REF: The Art of Stopping Time by Pedram Shojai, OMD. Published by: Rodale Wellness. 2017 ISBN 978-1-62336-909-5