Since this is my first blog, I had it all perfectly planned out: I’d sit down with a glass of wine on my porch and write a very eloquent blog about how I’m trying to become more mindful. I’d sound smart, funny, and interesting…
With my laptop, journal, and wine glass in hand, I step onto my porch and close the door behind me. Shit! I just locked myself out. So, I can honestly say, I’m writing to you from my porch with a glass of wine as I wait for my landlord to let me in. I had to use my neighbor’s phone and reiterate to my landlord that the oven is on and my car keys are locked inside, but rest assured, she’s on her way.
Interestingly enough, this is the perfect example where being mindful would come in handy. If I could’ve just been more present, I would have noticed I was closing the door that locks behind me. Just last week one of my friends noticed that my door did that and asked, “Don’t you worry about locking yourself out?” “Oh no,” I replied, “That’s never happened. I always carry my keys with me.”
Being more present is a constant challenge. My mind pulls me all over the place and even as I’m writing this blog I start to think about what people will think when they read this or wonder why I have a headache or hear a helicopter fly by and worry that we’re being attacked (this is always an irrational thought I have when loud planes or helicopters fly over). I am amazed and frustrated that I can’t be more focused and just get my mind to be quiet.
As I learned from AFS, we look at principles first like Sandra mentioned. Principles are the foundation; they’re the truths that no one can argue against. I still remember Gary Gray’s example during his Chain Reaction seminar: “If a kid jumps out of a tree, he’s going down. We don’t need a double blind study to prove there’s gravity.” With principles in mind, the only truth I’ve found to being more present is this: bringing your awareness to your breath always brings you into the present.
Try it, sit there and let your mind wander as much as it wants. Now bring your attention to your breath: inhale and exhale. Inhale and exhale. And just like that, you’re in the present. There’s no way to simultaneously have a thought and have your attention on your breath. So if you ever find yourself being pulled in a million directions or just need a moment of peace, this principle will always ring true. Granted, it’s easy to forget this principle when you’re locked out on your porch waiting for your landlord, but when you can connect back to the basics, they never fail.