“Walking in mindfulness brings us peace and joy and makes our life real. Why rush? Our final destination will only be the graveyard.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
This quote is so powerful to me because it calls us to remember why we are really here on this planet — to be present to this life we are living. It is so easy to forget that no matter how we live our lives, they are going to end — the prognosis is terminal for every single one of us. The only thing we don’t know is the timeline. Even if you believe in the afterlife or reincarnation, this one particular human experience will end. And yet, isnt’ that why we are here? To truly experience it? But so few of us do. How many of us are rushing to finish this project, or earning money to accomplish that task? I think it is common for humans to have a “once I am/do/have ______, then I can slow down” mindset and yet, true happiness comes from being present in the moment. I even see this in our children — they want so desparately to grow up that they spend time wishing they were older rather than enjoying their childhoods. Our minds have us focusing on our worries from yesterday and our goals for tomorrow and as a result, we can spend an entire day in our head and not being with our body in the actual moment. Being present is a wonderful habit you can develop through practice. Take a moment to do that now. Just stop, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Notice how your body is feeling today. How are your muscles and bones feeling? How about your core — what’s going on in your stomach and chest? Just notice. Now open your eyes and look around you. What colors do you see? What textures do you feel with different areas of your skin? How about sounds — what can you hear where you are? Don’t rush — take time to truly be in your surroundings and taking in the experience. If you can, step outside, and take a moment to connect with something in the natural world. Is there a tree or patch of grass you can observe for a moment? What do you see in the leaves and the dirt? Touch it — what sensations come through your fingertips into your brain? What can you smell? Close your eyes and listen. Do you hear birds? What about the tiny wings of a bee or a fly? Take some deep breaths and just be in the world. Notice the beauty and abundance around you. I always find that just a few minutes of this can really shift everything. My body feels calmer, my heart feels happier, and my head feels clearer. And most importantly, my priorities shift back to where they should be — on living this life, rather than rushing through it. After all, the finish line is not exactly a picnic, which brings new meaning to the idea that the journey is much more important than the destination.