Sometimes it's clear we've passed a milestone, and sometimes we miss them because we're distracted, or didn't know there was a milestone to see...
On any given day, there's a lot to do, isn't there? So much happens before we even consider that our day has "started." We go through the motions on autopilot, each Tuesday morning seems like the previous Tuesday morning. But is this true? If so, what are we doing it all for? The weekend, retirement, a big vacation, our name on a plaque somewhere, something else?
When we think we have a lot of time left, we get good at putting important things off - "I'll get to that stuff later." When we think we don't have a lot of time left, we start to question whether we spent our time well - "Should I have put in so much time at the office all those years?" If we're either putting the important things off, or wondering if we did enough important things, when do we really get to live? And what does it mean to really live?
I think this is where the idea of mindfulness can help us. Being mindful of the moment we're in right now, means we're really living right now! Being mindful of ourselves gives us the chance to notice, and decide how to respond to the constant changes in our life.
If you have an interest in mindfulness, but haven't settled into a routine yet, I invite you to try an app like Headspace or Stop, Breathe, and Think. Our phones have become inextricable parts of who we are, so we might as well make friends.
When it comes to dealing with "our issues" (unpleasant emotions, events, or thoughts) many of us believe we should just sweep that under the rug and remain positive. "Keep calm and carry on," right? Unfortunately, this kind of attitude can have terrible consequences on our health.
Our brains, like other organs in our bodies, have changing demands, and they are built to adjust to changes in demand.
Meditation has become increasingly popular, and at some point we may ask, "Why are we meditating? What does it actually do? What is happening that makes a difference?"
I remember the first time I met eyes with the "Dutchman." His stare was steady but soft, tinged with strength and fragility. It was clear he had tasted financial success and fame, but something wasn't all right with him.
Our minds crave novelty, connection and meaning and our everyday life can feel dull when nothing "pops out" at us. Mindfulness is a habit of noticing, without being carried away by our internal dialogue.