The plans are made; everybody's going to be there. And then, right before the big event, the phone call comes. "There is a glitch; the guy has a conflict."
My first reaction to this call was to send an upset, possibly angry, email. An email...not a phone call. Not a FaceTime session. Why? Because we somehow feel able to say things in an email that we would never say face-to-face.
Is that a clue? A hint? Maybe this realization should have been the first sign that I was getting ready to do something that was beyond the boundaries of my value system.
A few years ago I would have sent the email. In fact, I did send the email. In more than one instance and to more than one person. In both personal and business settings. And it was a bad idea every single time, and ones for which I paid a heavy price in each and every instance.
The difference between then and now is that I am able to take a thoughtful pause. I am able to stop... breathe... calm... cry and wipe away the tears, if tears are necessary, and move forward in a much more thoughtful way.
Thank you, mindfulness. Thank you, Mindful Schools. Thank you, Power of Self Program. Thank you to every single person and group who helped me learn tools to release the negativity and find my way back to my real self.
I was always there; I just got lost somewhere along the way. I had let all the small upsets build up. I had kept my feelings bottled up inside, smothered, until my thoughts shifted from thinking "it" wasn't such a big deal, to feeling that others didn't think my feelings mattered. And, from there, to believing that "they" thought I didn't matter. I was invisible.
Well, I wasn't invisible then. And I'm not invisible now. I found tools that helped me, and they can help you, too.
- Start your day with at least 10 minutes of quiet mindfulness. Breathe deeply, stretch, and get your body moving and awake. Let your day begin with the intention to live each day with a positive attitude and gratitude for each of the gifts in your life.
- Take mindful moments throughout the day. At your desk, before a meeting, during your lunch break, while walking or driving to your next appointment. Stretch your body, moving your neck, shoulders, and back to release any tension that may have built up over the course of the hours. Breathe deeply for five to 10 minutes to quiet your mind to center yourself and help you be more prepared for the next agenda item.
- Notice five things each day that you typically overlook. It could be the sound of Fido's dog tags, the smell of your toothpaste, or the way the sun shines into your office. It could even be the sound of your colleague's footsteps or the different ways the tennis ball sounds for each type of shot you make; regardless, take the time to notice those things which typically fall below your personal radar.
- Make it a goal to do at least one act of kindness everyday. Realize how it made you feel, and notice the recipient's response. Was it surprise? Excitement? Joy? Relief? Or was it just gratitude that someone did something special for them without the expectation that the kindness be returned?
- Each night, write about your day. Make sure to include how you felt after each event. How did the mindfulness affect your mood? Did the stretching and deep breathing help in any way? What were the sounds or sights you noticed? Describe your act of kindness and how you felt afterwards.
There are so many gifts we can give ourselves every single day. Now is not the time to waste even one single moment. Give yourself the gift of mindfulness, and let me know how it goes.
Dr. Wolbe can be reached via her website at www.drsusiewolbe.com.