By Leo Babauta
These days, it’s always nice to have reminders to become present, to pause into stillness, and to calm ourselves down.
Chaos rules most of our lives, and every reminder we get can be helpful.
Today I’m going to share some simple practices that won’t be new to most of you, but that are simple reminders to bring into your day.
I highly encourage you to write these on cards, sticky notes, phone lock screens and other places you’ll see them during the day.
- Pause and breathe. Simply take a moment a handful of times during the day to pause, and check in with your breath. Notice how you feel. Get present to your surroundings.
- Go slowly, and savor. With a meal, eat each bite slowly, pause and breathe between bites, and really and truly savor each bite. How often do we give ourselves this gift? And we can do this with any activity — do it slowly, and savor the activity. Washing a dish. Taking a shower. Brushing your teeth. Cleaning the counter. Go slowly, and savor fully.
- Find moments of stillness. At almost any moment of the day, we can find some stillness. Curl up on the couch with a book. Sit on a park bench while out on a walk. Go outside and look up at the sky or out at the trees. Instead of constantly being in motion, we can pause in stillness and savor that stillness.
- Get curious. No matter what you’re doing, it’s an opportunity to bring curiosity. What can you get curious about as someone is talking to you? Notice when you’ve shut your curiosity down into opinions, views, judgment, righteousness. It’s usually when we’re frustrated or rigid in our views and rightness. Instead, can we bring curiosity and see what there is to learn from this person, this situation? Really try to know more, and bring the joyful curiosity that we had as children about everything in our world.
- Let yourself stay in the not knowing. We want to know the answer. Not knowing is a state that most people want to get out of immediately, so we’ll make a plan, Google something, try to find the certainty. Nothing wrong with that, but what would it be like to stay in the not knowing? To get curious, and savor the groundless feeling of not having a fixed path or view? We can bring this to any activity, any conversation.
- Create rituals of mindfulness. Little things, like brushing our teeth, can become a ritual to bring mindfulness, savoriing, curiosity. Eating your morning meal can be a time to just slow down and savor. Starting up your computer in the morning can be an opportunity for a ritual to get present to what’s important to you today. Shutting the computer down in the evening can be an opportunity to reflect on what you learned today. There are lots of little opportunties like this to create rituals to get present.
- Ask yourself what would make you happy today. Every day, you can start by asking what would make you happy. Is there an accomplishment that would make this a great day? A self-care ritual? A phone call to your mom or best friend? Make this a top priority for the day!
- Find wonder and awe right now. In every single moment, if we open ourselves to it, we can find awe for this incredible universe. For the interconnectedness we might see we have with all beings. We can find wonder for things we take for granted. Right now, where can you find wonder and awe?
As I said, these are probably not new to you — but can you use this reminder as an opportunity to bring one or more of these into your life today?