When did you last really take a moment out to 'just be?' I mean REALLY take a moment to just relax your shoulders, take a couple of deep breaths and just soak in your surroundings of the here and now.
The gift of presence
It sounds so simple, yet we dismiss this true gift of presence by rushing around and thinking about what we need to do next. Go on, count on your fingers and toes - how often have you appreciated the here and now in the last week? Last month?
Mmm, thinking the same as me? Not very often, even if that at all. So, what would it be like to create that self-awareness and let it become a really part of everyday life. A real practice of mindfulness. 'I haven't got time for that!' I hear the cycnics say. Well actually I'd like to challenge that thought.
When was the last time you really observed what happens on your journey into work - walking along the pavement, on the bus, plane, train, - when did you last smile or acknowledge a passer-by or passenger just because you could?
My challenge to 'just notice'
So in the name of research I challenged myself this week to just spend 5 minutes each day 'just noticing' and this is what I have learnt.
1. Life is full of colour
As I sit here writing this blog I am struck by the beauty of my surroundings. The rich and varied colour scheme of the landscape is something I have never really taken time before to appreciate. The question I ask myself is what am I not appreciating it? It doesn't have to be chocolate box cottages and breath taking views that we all dream of seeing out our windows but just what does surround me? For instance if I asked you to name something pink, purple, blue and brown in the room you're sitting in now whilst reading this - could you answer? Or would you need to look around...go on try it!
2. Time out gives clarity and connection
Taking 5 minutes out each day has been refreshing and a great chance to check in with myself and ask myself 'am I living today with my best self or my inner critic?' When facing a challenging task, many of us initially react with doubt or lack of confidence, yet inside us all there really is the potential for us to succeed - we just need to release it. Take those who run marathons as an example - hats off to all the amazing people who run the gruelling and challenging event. The discipline and mental training it takes to prepare for such an activity is immense - yet I can guarantee lots of people who ran it initially voiced 'I could never do that'. I was the same when I completed the London Moonwalk (twice - I was brave enough to do it again!). Seeing the bright yellow 26 mile sign was just such an amazing feeling. So what could you check in with and what have you turned down recently or held back on completing something because you couldn't do it - who made that decision for you? Your best self who knows they can achieve anything they set out to or the inner critic who tells you, you're not good enough.
3. Space brings new opportunities
My final learning curve this week has been that giving myself permission to take 5 minutes out each day has provided time to just refocus and realise the opportunities that are available to me. Perhaps opportunities I may have missed or dismissed if I have not allowed myself a few moments to think them through. I have protected time to make decisions that are important to me in a quiet space. How rare and precious is that? What could you gain from space each day? What decisions do you need to make but are putting off because you just don't really have head space or quiet to really think them through?
I have thoroughly embraced this challenge and it has brought me so much fulfilment. I feel relaxed and appreciative of my current surroundings, connected with my inner stronger self it has given me time to make some important decisions and I can see colour - it's like living life in high definition right now! I took the picture of the bee whilst out whilst out walking.
Normally I would have dismissed it and just moved on but something inside urged me to just take a moment and appreciate it's beauty.
So I invite you to join me in my high definition life and try it for yourselves. Can you afford not to let yourself take 5 minutes out of your busy day and 'just be'?