Finding…mindfulness.

mind over matterliving in the present quoteSigh… Mondays.

See, I’m not usually one of those people who dread Mondays and complain about their jobs. But I’m not going to lie, I started this morning groaning out of bed and maybe getting just a little bit sassy at other drivers. But reality finally checked in, reminding me just how much I have to be thankful for. It’s easy to get bogged down in all the things that don’t go exactly the way I want them to, which in my case consists largely of having an uncomfortable, embarrassing and altogether exhausting allergic reaction going on the three month mark.

As an interviewee said on NPR this morning, and I paraphrase: It’s like when you’re driving. You don’t think much of the green lights because you just keep going. But those red lights make you stop, make you wait, can even make you late. People invariably end up saying, “Ahh I hit some red lights,” not “I hit some green lights.”

I know I need to spend more time meditating on my own green lights to get myself through the red ones. And I think practicing a little more mindfulness is just the thing to help me do that.

I’ve been reading a book called My Year With Eleanor, in which author Noelle Hancock writes, “Mindfulness is a technique where you concentrate on the present experience without judging or trying to control what is going on. To be fully aware….It helps you stay in the present, where fear does not exist.” One Apartment Therapy article calls mindfulness “an accepting and kind attitude toward yourself and your present moment experience…that will change your relationship to life.”

Here are some tips for practicing more mindfulness, which are all part of my plan this week to try staying gracefully in the present and practice more acceptance:

Change the day’s first words. Waking up and indulging groans and dread for the day sets my attitude, and therefore, perception for at least the next three hours. Complaining is a habit, and I’d like to train my brain to not jump straight into it every morning.

Put. the phone. down. How many times do I re-check email, refresh Facebook on my browser, scroll through Twitter, and when all that still fails to entertain, turn to other apps to see what latest GroupOns are featured and which new pug is on @PugsofInstagram, only to repeat the process? I waste so much time with absent-minded scrolling.

Be thankful for waiting. It’s so easy to fall into a pattern of going and then get frustrated when something jars me out of that by making me wait. Instead, this moment that I can’t force into productivity is a fantastic opportunity to breathe and think without feeling guilty.

Dedicate time to just sit. Not in front of the tv, with a book, food or even a cup of coffee. Just me, being still. A word of warning, when you try this one in bed, at night, with a relaxing cool eye mask on…this also turns into a fantastic way to accidentally fall asleep. As I learned from personal experience.

What helps you relax and think more on the positive side of things?

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Buck up

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Well, I had a great relaxing weekend with a date on Friday, girls scary movie night on Saturday (that didn’t give me nightmares…high five to me!), dress shopping and bridesmaid dress ordering with my mom on Sunday and then topped it off with a great concert at a favorite venue of mine, the Granada, to see Aesop Rock on Sunday night. I also squeezed in some Berlin and Rome research on Saturday’s perfectly rainy afternoon. Great pre-Europe jam packed weekend!

Do you ever have those friends who complain all the time? And you want to be like “listen here, bro. Suck. It Up.” Well lately, that’s been me. I hear myself doing it too. “Aren’t you leaving for Europe soon?” “Yes! I’m so excited! Ugh but I have to [insert endless vacation to do list] and [insert complaint about how much everything is costing this Spring/Summer because of the many family events happening]” Frankly, I’m surprised I haven’t been slapped yet. Especially because those closest to me likely know that I secretly love to do lists and being slightly stressed (just call me a masochist). Although no one has give me a love face tap yet, I do have a few friends and a mother who simply laugh when I utter an ounce of complaining. As they should!!

Complaining is stealing from your own joy. Even worse, you’re stealing from those around you. If you’re having a great day and I come over and spill red wine all over it, your good mood is stained with my negativity. Who wants to be the friend that is the red stain on someone’s mood or day? Who would want to be friends with that friend?

So this week my goal is to quit complaining. These next few months are really exciting  albeit expensive, and I would hate myself for not lavishing and soaking up the moment. Unfortunately I don’t have friends who will sitcom slap me, but I do have a yoga mat and have instructed friends to tell me to suck it up if I even have the tone of a whine. I want to stop myself from every even considering the Debbie Downer of these great life events and stay a Positive Patricia. She’s way more fun to hang out with.

By the way, one week from this moment I’ll be having dinner in Paris. Can you even believe that? I can’t!

paris