Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary
Paying Attention to the Now
When we become truly curious about the now we can experience every task, every taste, every touch, as if for the very first time. We transform ourselves and therefore transform our relationship with the now. But paying attention is not easy to do. It is so easy to get distracted!
We are so used to flitting from a live conversation to a phone call while eating a piece of toast and walking through the house looking for our glasses, maybe even calling out to the children that they should be ready for the bus in 5 minutes and noting that the recycling needs putting out. In other words we are used to being dispersed, and find that focusing on one thing at a time and being present is often difficult.
Most of us would like to be present because it feels good but we don’t manage it very often. So where can we find the inspiration to stay with it.
I’ll give you a clue: our children.
Our children are a shining example of what it means to be present. As children, we see the world with gentle curiosity. Each day we are learning, discovering, and exploring what it means to be alive.
As adults, we usually think that a person, a chore, our breath has to be interesting to merit our attention. But in fact it can work the other way around!
When we notice something in detail our interest in it grows. It becomes fun and stimulating to study the detail of the moment. Suddenly, a mundane view takes on a more vivid hue; the tea tastes of India; condensation on the window reminds us of jewels. As the buddhists say, “Suddenly we see a bird fly as if for the first time.”
The great thing is that we don’t have to try and appreciate the shape of a new bridge, or try and be WOW-ed by taking off in a plane, or try and taste the sunshine in a tomato. These things happen simply as a result of being present. They even happen when we are in a grumpy mood and not feeling positive about life.
If we are truly present, the ordinary becomes extra-ordinary. And at the same time the new found beauty is so familiar and obvious that we wonder why it once seemed so extra-ordinary.
Here are 5 Quick Tips
to help you find the extraordinary in the ordinary
1. Slow down
We have a tendency to rush everything in an attempt to get “it” all done, especially the things we don’t like doing. When we slow down and pay attention, we open ourselves to the extra-ordinary gift of each moment. Washing the dishes no longer seems like a chore, but an incredible opportunity to feel the water rush over our hands and feel gratefulness in our hearts for the food we just put on the table for our loved ones.
2. One thing at a time
As women, we are amazing at multi-tasking: but it is hard to pay attention to the now when we are doing 10 things at once! Remind yourself to engage with just one thing at a time. This is also part of slowing down. And when you focus on one thing at a time, you’ll be amazed at how much more efficiently you get things done – creating more precious time for you!
3. Take Three
Pause regularly throughout the day and take three deep breaths. Much of the reason why we become sick, depressed, or anxious is because we are not breathing properly. Begin to notice how your breath becomes short and shallow when you become stressed, or are critizing yourself. Pause, and take three. Ground yourself by bringing your attention back to the now.
4. Spend quality time with children or animals
Either yours or someone else’s. They are an incredible inspiration for staying curious about the present moment! And they love it when you immerse yourself in the present moment with them. Paying attention to the now is not easy, and this is where you will recieve the biggeset rewards!
5. Create space for yourself
Self-care is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your loved ones. Alone time is essential! When we create space for ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually we are free to have our own experience with the present moment. Even just a little bit of time to ourselves each day helps us to hold our own space around others as well, so we can continue our practice of staying with the now.