How can we foster bliss filled minds instead of blitzed out mind? We are bombarded constantly with emotional, visual and auditory “static.” Where, or more appropriately, how can we find or make some peace and quiet in our lives? How can we motivate ourselves to practice what we know are the healthiest behaviors to cultivate?
Immortal vs. Mortal
Sometimes it seems that when we are young we are often in the “I can do anything,” eternal, immortal, here and now. When we get older and feel the wear and tear on our bodies from our own abuses and extreme behaviors we slip into the “what was I thinking,”not so eternal, very mortal here and now?
So what can we, as older adults, do to help the younger generations avoid damaging themselves?
Wait for it……Nothing!
Time and time again we heard our elders telling us to be careful, get more sleep, avoid extremes, avoid stress, enjoy life more, take vacations, stand up straight, and on and on. Did we listen?? Nope.
Unfortunately we had to experience life “to the fullest” even if that meant causing later wear and tear on our joints, our back, our nerves, and or our psyches. Then we became the oldsters who were trying to impart healthy life practices and wisdom on the “youngsters.”
Funny how that turned out!
So what are we supposed to do with all of our experiential wisdom when no one will listen to us? Write or share our “new found wisdom”! Total strangers, often our own age can at least commiserate with us about the old days and how kids these days won’t listen. Might make us feel better; then again it might not.
We can do something
We can try to live more healthily now. Why not try to take better care of what we do still have? Why not eat more fruits and veggies, less fats and sugars? We may have more trouble losing weight if we have disabilities of course. We may even think to our selves, “Why bother? The damage is done. I want to enjoy the rest of my life and do what I want to do!”
What if before we get to enjoy our old age, we are afflicted with some sickness, disability, stroke, or heart attack. Even healthy people who exercise and eat well may have genetic tendencies for one of the above. That sure is discouraging!
But we can at least try to take better care of what we do have going for us now, even in small ways. Hopefully we still have good minds at the very least. We have that essence that makes us who we are. We have that spark of life still in us. We can all be more mindful of our bodies no matter how old our bodies are.
Be mindful while eating
In an article about eating habits two mind boggling points hit home. When we eat, do we just shovel food in our mouths? Do we need to eat fast all of the time?
Actually I should reword that. Do I need to eat fast all of the time? I caught myself loading my spoon as soon as I put food in my mouth. Where did that come from? I never had to compete for food in my family. I normally have nothing much to do after lunch or supper. What’s the rush?
Why not first use my eyes to enjoy the food’s colors; use my nose to enjoy the aromas of the food I am about to eat; it also doesn’t hurt to feel or express gratitude for the food we are about to eat. Then put a spoonful of food in my mouth, sense the texture of the food; chew and then use my tongue to savor the flavor.
Be mindful of where you are
When I am waiting for someone, or waiting for an appointment I find myself looking at my smart phone. I realized one day that I used to spend time just looking around seeing what was in front of me. I used to enjoy watching people. I used to engage others in conversation or just be in the moment or notice a bird or funny situation that no else saw.
How mindful are cell phones?
Are we cutting ourselves off from others, even our world, by keeping our eyes on our cell phones all the time? Perhaps we feel like we are in our own little world of Facebook with our friends or playing games on our phones or reading our electronic books. Perhaps we feel safer by not getting involved with total strangers? Or is it just that we are mentally stimulated more by the faster pace of reading and writing posts on our phones? Don’t get me wrong, I do love being able to access knowledge and distant friends at the push of a button. But there needs to be limits.
Mindfulness or meditation?
While reading about meditation and prayer I often see the expression “Be mindful,” or “Be truly in the Moment.” Meditation in part is actually being mindful of everything around you by using your senses, opening your mind and heart to what can be learned, observed or taught through your senses and inner voice. Even being aware of what your body is feeling.
So I am slowly learning to do this. I have not cultivated this ability fully yet, but I do try to be mindful every day thereby bringing some of that peace of mind that more full meditation does.
Mindfully use all of your senses
Thanks to a screened in porch on cooler mornings, I can sit and listen to the myriad birds living in a nearby forest. I observe the changing of the leaves on the red maple on the corner of my porch. I can breathe the air and find what surprises there may be. I can feel the warmth of the sun or a refreshing, cool breeze. In the morning I can feel the humidity of the start of a summer day or the chill in the fall air as I wake up.
There are so many pleasures to be enjoyed for free if we slow down, look around, listen, feel, sense and learn. We should try not to miss out on what life has to offer us.
We may be missing out on truly enjoying our food. We may be missing out on being in the moment, keeping our senses alive and sharp, or maybe making a new friend.
Slow down, smell the coffee, see the trees, the people, LIFE. We are all connected in one way or another. Let’s stay that way and enjoy our lives more fully too. Being totally aware of what your senses and body tell you is a form of meditation.