I was driving around yesterday, running some errands. I realized
at one point that I had totally zoned out.
You know how it is when you are in the car, perhaps listening to
some good music, and you get completely tranced out.
Before you know it, you are five miles down the road and don’t
remember one bit about your trip.
This was brought to my attention by none other than my son, Miguel.
He notices everything. He often sees something that I have not
attended to, then asks me questions about it. of course, this
compels me to respond and pay better attention.
The adult is tranced out, while the child is totally excited and
immersed in the world around him.
Hmmmm….I think Miguel is trying to teach me something.
Not that it’s wrong to daydream or lose yourself in your thoughts.
Quite often, you are working out problems and coming up with
solutions to challenges during these ruminative periods.
But there’s a lot to be said for mindfulness as well.
For example, I believe that the more focus and concentration you
put into your workout – whether it’s breathing exercises, or
cardio, or lifting weights, or yoga – the better the results you
If, as you exercise, you think about the beautiful physique you
are sculpting, or the high levels of energy and health you are
developing, or your increased ability to handle challenges and
manage stress…well, not only will you enjoy your workout more.
You will also create a positive energy that will stay with you
after your workout.
And you will truly feel your body as you put it through its paces.
This body awareness, this sense of self, is very empowering.
One of the reasons I admire the Japanese is because they practice
mindfulness as part of their daily lives.
Let’s take something as simple as a cup of tea.
Here’s my method: boil the water as I do something else. Let the
tea steep for five minutes as I do something else. Drink the tea
as I read or work or watch TV. Finish it within five minutes
and move on to something else.
Contrast this with the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
Everything is choreographed down to the smallest detail. The host
and the guest each have a role. Nothing is hurried.
The participants enjoy the delicious tea. And they benefit from
this wonderfully tranquil and uplifting respite from their hectic
See if you can create these wonderful moments of total attention
and mindfulness for yourself. Totally focus on the activity of
your choice – whether it’s drinking a cup of tea, or reading a
good book, or exercising.
I think you’ll find these moments will add to your appreciation
for, and enjoyment of, life.
You Can Do It!
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Your best strategy is to begin by getting centered and focused
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Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011