Moving across the country six months ago hasn’t been an easy transition, particularly with an entire network of family and friends still firmly planted in Seattle. Much as I’ve always loved exploring new places (crouching under a tarped food market in the Tonkinese Alps as 5 ft. tall Blue Hmong tribes people hawked live pigs and sturdy plows), every travail ended back at home base – Seattle. So settling in Princeton with no foreseeable return to my beloved moss pad (yes it rains – the myth is real) has been rattling to say the least. My natural monkey mind frequently wants to navigate a jungle of memories, and when it does, WHAM, tears spew forth. So being present and living in the moment is not only desirable, it is ESSENTIAL. My contact lenses need the break! Here are 6 terrific tips working for me, that I’m happy to share with you:
- Take notice of the world around you. A little girl at Small World Cafe in a purple polka dot poufy dress, patent leather mary janes, and perfectly combed hair with sparkly headband staring right at me with a finger jammed up her nose. Ah…the freedom at that age! To pick your nose, stare at others, and wait for papa to deliver your frothy mug of hot chocolate. Moments like this don’t happen unless you stop and obserrve.
- Focus on whatever you’re doing. I’m hating side angle pose right now (yogis know what I’m talking about; non-yogis: just picture a perfectly-sane adult trying to make a side angle shape with the body by dropping deep and to the side into a hamstring-screaming bend). Focusing on the experience has helped me appreciate that many wonderful people don’t ever get the opportunity to move this way. Letting my mind wander leaves me in a frustrated state (and on my rear end).
- Smile when you wake up. Fake it if you have to. Yeah, it feels a little cheesy, but it works. It really does. Go in front of the mirror after you get out of bed, and smile big. It sets the tone for the day.
- Commit random, spontaneous acts of kindness. My friend at work saw a woman with heavy grocery bags and two small children walking perilously along the shoulder of US Rte. 1 in the dark. She and countless other motorists caught this sight in the rearview mirror. Only she stopped. Opened her door. Opened her heart. And drove the woman and children home to safety. What did you do today?
- Minimize activities that dull your awareness of the moment. TV. Web-surfing. Flipping through a check-out stand rag mag. Go for a walk instead. Call a friend and see what they’re up to. Talk to the check-out stand employee.
- Be thankful for what is. I’m working hard at this. Every time I think about what I want, I try to immediately replace the thought with what I already have. Here’s an example: I want to make a living freelance writing and teaching yoga. I HAVE a job that gives me daily practice writing (speeches, website updates), and two fabulous studios offering daily classes that work around my schedule. That’s something to be thankful for.