“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need,
not more.” ― Mother Teresa
Standing in front of the sink under the kitchen window, I was concerned if the refinance on my house would be approved. Worried thoughts accompanied by various outcomes played over and over again in my head. What if this happens? What if that happens? What if this doesn’t happen? The flow of thoughts relentlessly kept slithering their way into my brain.
Suddenly, I felt warm, sudsy water caressing my wet hands and fingers. I noticed my shoulders were constricted and tense. My clenched face held the space for a wire tight jaw. There was a smooth, round bowl in my hand, and a soaked washcloth in the other.
Then I realized the truth. I was washing my dishes! I mean, really? Ugh, how embarrassing! I was so stuck on the mental chatter train that I was oblivious to what I was doing. Distracted and disconnected, I was not feeling myself washing dishes, and my bodily tension. In fact, I was not feeling my life at all.
How often do you feel what you are doing in the present moment? When you’re driving, do you feel your hands clamping tightly on the wheel? When you jog in the morning, do you feel the cool breeze sliding gently across your face? If a painful memory surfaces, do you feel the grip of sadness clutching your heart?
Living crazy, stressful lives makes you feel out of touch with reality and disconnected. As the days get busier and more hectic, it’s easy to fall into a habit of acting like a robot. I know I do it sometimes. Yes, you’re successfully checking things off on your to-do list. But mechanical and automatic behaviors make you miss the full experience of life.
When you learn to feel your life, you embody your entire experience. You live in the present moment being aware of what’s happening as it’s happening. Not in the past, not in the future, but right now.
- You can hear the birds serenade in harmony with the rising sun bringing vitality into your spirit.
- As you mindfully walk your dog in the brisk, cool evening, their joy and excitement gives your soul warmth and energy.
- Watching your kids playing and laughing with your full attention deepens your bond while keeping touch with the child that still exists within your heart.
It’s also important to feel what’s happening internally. Instead of numbing your deepest pain and sorrow, give yourself permission to feel so you can heal. Instead of fearfully pushing away joy and love, take a risk and be connected with one another. Just simply be and feel. Let the emotions move through you.
Here are some simple ideas to enrich your life by learning to feel your life:
Breathe. The breath is an anchor to the present moment. When you focus on the breath, it centers your mind, grounds your spirit and calms the nervous system. Mindfulness of breathing cultivates awareness and total presence. It weakens the temptation to feed the monkey mind. You develop stronger concentration to fully embody your experience.
When you notice you’re not feeling, stop and take three breaths. Let go of worries, preoccupations about the past or future and fantasies. Remind yourself to feel your life by living in this moment right now.
Slow Down. Instead of rushing to get out the door every morning, take time to sit and enjoy breakfast with your family. Turn off or put away the phones, TVs and tablets. Eat slowly and mindfully. Savor every bite. Feel the texture as you chew. Enjoy the cool sensation of cold water passing through your lips as you drink a cup of fresh water.
Relax. To feel, the energy needs to move through you. When you’re tense, it restricts the flow of energy in your body. Consciously tell your muscles to release tension and relax. It’s easy to get wound up tight in a fast-pasted lifestyle.
Let go and let things be as they are. Act like a canoe on the river that rides with the flow of the water. The canoe doesn’t fight the river. Otherwise, it would turn upside down possibly sinking or crashing into the shore. Instead, the canoe lets the river stream take it wherever it needs to go. When you flow through life trusting God takes where you need to, you can relax and live with more peace and grace.
Being aware and mindful in each moment takes practice. It takes time to learn requiring sincere effort everyday. New habits are always challenging to accomplish. But I assure you it’s worth it. Feeling your life means living your life to the fullest. You’ll enjoy everything more. Your job, your family, your food, and even yourself. Anything that is a part of you is amplified by remaining present. You will experience the wonders and beauty of this humble humanity at deeper levels. The most mundane and ordinary moments will become extraordinary moments. And maybe, just maybe that even includes washing the dishes.