I recently went to the Museum of Modern Art with a few friends. As I studied a painting and read about the artist with my friend Vedna, she told me, "I'd rather enjoy a few pieces of artwork that will impact my memory than try to see several and not remember anything." I completely agree. We took our time going through the galleries and focused on each piece. Later, I thought about what she said and realized that Vedna summed up how we should go through our lives in one sentence.
We're constantly inundated with information, and it's getting harder to sort through all the noise for actual substance. We're meeting people but finding it difficult to connect on a deeper level. We scroll through our social media feeds without registering any of the posts. We're mentally exhausted and have very little to show for our efforts. I believe it's time to take a breath, relax and refocus. Take this moment to check in with yourself. Are you feeling anxious, scattered, or tired? If so, get up, move around, and stretch. On the other hand, if you're feeling pretty good, take this moment to be grateful. These small action steps bring you to the present and help you to be mindful.
Staying in the present means paying attention to the person in front of you, taking the time to read emails carefully, and forming your replies with intention. This practice, which does take practice, will save you time by not having someone repeat themselves because you weren't listening or having to change your actions because you didn't fully comprehend the email.
I understand how some days seem overwhelming with so much that has to be done that we end up feeling that very little was accomplished. We have no idea how the time got away from us. (This is the part of the day where I'm clueless about what to make for dinner.) It's not just the work week. While trying to enjoy the weekend with family and friends, our minds are distracted by what is waiting for us on Monday morning. We're missing out on what is occurring right in front of us.
Try this: When you realize your mind is wandering to the past, the future, or simply daydreaming, check your posture. If you're inclining back, sit up straight. You'll be surprised at the immediate energy boost it will give you. The same goes if you're standing. You may be slouching or leaning against a wall. Pull your shoulders back, lift your head, and smile. These simple actions will bring you to the here and now.
Slowing down and taking in our present moment gives us the opportunity to enjoy the people around us. Catching up with my friends at the museum was the best part of the day. We talked about our favorite exhibits, what's happening in our lives, and planning our next outing. The memory of the day is one I won't forget because I had a great time focusing on my friends and enjoying their company.