At the end of last year, our team discussed that I would start blogging again since we’ve hired new staff and allegedly I should have the time. It is now the end of March and I haven’t had the time. But that is precisely the point, and feels like a really good starting place for reminding myself and anyone who reads this why noticing each moment is so important.
Yes, the world is chaotic, people are burned out. Anger and conflict are high. Those that are working can’t figure out why they are working so hard, and businesses can’t figure out why they can’t hire people who might need jobs. In the middle of all of this, not to mention what is going on in your own individual and chaotic life, we do have a tool for not letting time just slip by.
How do we do that? I’m doing it now. I’m pausing and tasting my coffee in between paragraphs. I’m catching myself when I’m doing one thing but thinking about another. Exhaustion and anxiety are fed by doing one thing while thinking about the other things that need done, or even worse, the things we have absolutely no control over. This moment is literally all there is. We can influence the next moment by what we chose to do in this moment, but we can’t control all of the factors. Try it. Spend the next 5 seconds really noticing whatever you are doing, even if it is noticing the font on this page or the emotion you are having as you read it. Then spend the next 5 seconds worrying about what you are going to cook for dinner. Which feels better?
What we focus on is a choice, but it doesn’t feel like a choice when we don’t know we have the power to make that choice. Now, right now, you know it is a choice. And now you know you have to practice. When you find yourself feeling anxious, ask yourself “what am I doing right now?” Just in this moment, whatever it is, is good enough. Let the rest go, even if it is just for a moment. I promise this practice will change that sense of chaos. If you don’t practice, you forget that you do have the superpower of living in just this moment that you are in.
Try it. What do you have to lose? Is the anxiety about what’s happening next or what’s happening “out there” working for you? It doesn’t work for me, so I spent all day yesterday working on this practice and you know what? Today feels noticeably different.
For those of you, and there are many, who tell me, “But I have to pay attention to what’s going on in the world. It matters!” Yes, yes it does. For the moment that you are learning about what is happening in the world. But the next moment after that is yours to notice someone’s smile, the food you are tasting, the sunshine through your window. Time is continuing to move but it moves slower if we move with it, noticing the seconds that really count.
Author: Holly Jedlicka, MSW, LISW-S