Dr. Henry Emmons, a psychiatrist, spoke at a conference I attended last week. He ended his talk telling the audience what the secret was to happiness and longevity.
He said, “Be mindful of the present moment.”
Mindfulness feeds into our everyday life and especially into writing.
Creator of the Mindfulness Based-Stress Reduction Program (MSBR), Jon Kabit-Zinn, said, “Writing can be an incredible mindfulness practice.”
My best writing sessions are when I am present with pen and paper in hand. I am centered and open as I write.
But when I ramp up my brain about other random things like, “don’t forget to do this or that, and don’t forget about that thing.” Then my brain starts to overload. It is like hot oil shooting out of a pan. It has nowhere to go except all over the stove, the floor, and my arm.
OUCH! And Damnit!
We don’t need to be jumping around like Mexican jumping beans with our distracted thoughts corrupting our writing time. Or acting like my dog, Bailey, chasing every squirrel she sees or doesn’t see because she’s so programmed to just go when she hears the word, Squirrel!
That’s kind of like our mind.
And there are a lot of squirrels (aka distractions-checking email, googling information, answering a text) taking our attention.
When I practice settling into this moment. My mind slows down.
I smell the lilacs outside my window.
I see the animal figures in the clouds.
It calms my heart. I can see the way into my imagination and get into the task of what I am writing.
And that is all that matters.
Writing about your life can be enjoyable and bring a deep satisfaction. When I experience life in the present and take the time to write about it, life becomes fuller and I become more creative.
Sometimes when I read old journals and see that I have skimmed or neglected much of the detail around that time, I get a little sad. I may still have the memory but I neglected to write about it in the present moment. I skirted around it or did not take the time to see the details. As if it was just not important enough. As if my life is boring.
Jon Kabit-Zinn also said, “When you pay attention to boredom, it gets unbelievably interesting.”
Being present is about taking notice of your life.
Today at work I watched construction workers tear apart the street below my office window. I felt like my 15 month old grandson watching these huge bulldozers doing amazing things.
When you write, there is no reason to hurry, and no other place you need to go.
So feel the breeze on your face, float with the clouds above, and smell the lilacs.
Be there and wherever you are ….