At the end of a relaxing yoga class, our lovely teacher shared a quote: “you are not a drop of water in the ocean, you are the whole ocean in a drop of water.” As we were taking a moment to let this statement settle, one of the students offered up her favorite quote: “Not to brag, but I got out of bed this morning.”
As profound as the first quote was, it was the second one that struck a cord in me.
On some days we might contemplate the mysteries of the universe, but on other days, we might be doing well to crawl out of bed. Learning to accept the present moment - just as it is - is an essential attitude for practicing mindfulness. Recognizing and accepting what is happening in the moment – emotionally, physically, cognitively - is essential to the ability to respond to our lives rather than to simply react out of habit or conditioning.
When we can embrace reality rather than wishing for things to be other than they are, we can better determine a skillful response.
So on those days when we muster all of our available energy to get up and out the door, accepting that reality may inform our decisions – be it how to tackle an email from a difficult client or whether to take the bait offered by that challenging family member.
In our mindfulness classes, we use the acronym S.T.O.P. Stop for a moment. Take a breath. Observe what is happening in your body, with your emotions, and in your thoughts. This part is key – observe what is actually happening in the moment and not what you might prefer to be happening. Then, with that awareness, decide how it is you want to Proceed.
Learning to S.T.O.P. and recognize the reality of the present moment is a skill that can lead to better outcomes, happier relationship and far fewer apologies.
Wishing you all the best,
Mary Linda McBride is a Senior Faculty Member with SMI. She offers mindfulness training in workplace settings. Learn more about her work at www.mindfulresolution.com