“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.”
I am an asthmatic. I am also a runner. I went out strong, full of gusto and ploughed through the start of my run because I wanted to be productive today and check the run off my list. ‘Run done!’ is what I wanted to shout as I retuned home. As a runner, I set goals to keep me on track. This year my goal is to run a half marathon, a total of 21 kilometers, on the Great Wall of China.
In the middle of my run this morning, I realized that I had forgotten my inhaler. My breath became tight and wheezy. About 3 kilometers into the run, I had to slow my pace right down to a walk. I made a conscious decision to relax and focus on every breath in order to conserve my energy. Even though my breath was tight and wheezy, I mentally chose relaxation over tension and anxiety. Staying present and aware, I noted every breath, slowly and consciously as I made my way back to the house where we were staying at so I could retrieve my inhaler.
Even though my goal was to complete a long, hard run, I realized it’s New Year’s Eve here in Hiroshima, Japan and it reminded me of the resolutions, targets, and goals that people make on an annual basis. Yes, my goal was to complete my run today, but I didn’t do it. In the face of being unable to achieve this goal, I was able to stay present, mindful, and aware when I realized I had forgotten my inhaler. Normally this would really worry me and anxiety and tension would set in making it only worse.
It is not always just about checking off and completing things, but more about staying connected to the sensations in your body at any given time. In my case, it was literally focusing on the breathe. Shifting our attitudes more from keeping our eye on the prize to keeping our eye on the present moment makes me believe more and more that the present moment is the prize. It’s what matters most and focusing on the present moment allows us to take in and savor all that it has to offer.
As you begin the blitz of creating your new year goals, instead of keeping your eyes on the end product or whatever it is that you are trying to do to in order to live your best life, be more mindful of your daily opportunities to stay present and in the moment. Aim to be as physically, mentally and emotionally strong as you can in order to tackle each glorious day as it unfolds for you in 2015.
As this is the last day of 2014, I’m so very grateful for the wonderful year we have had, but the reality is that 2015 is now upon us. The events, experiences, pleasures, and challenges are yet to unfold. However, I sincerely hope that the oscillations of 2015 will be mindful moments that help me continue to learn, love, grow, and discover. I wish only the same for each and every one of you reading this blog post.
After all, we only truly have this moment.
Be patient, be present and practice being in this moment.
Neila Steele & Andy Vasily