iwannabealady.com be present with mindfulness thailand chiang mai

Get Your Mind Right. Be Present.

You come up with any brilliant, original thoughts today? That question is a setup. The fact is, of the thoughts that you and I have had today, most of them are simple repetitions of the same thoughts we’ve had over and over for the past few days, weeks, months, possibly years. Our brains like the comfort of repetition. It likes to seek out patterns. It values familiarity. You’ve heard that we are creatures of habit. Turns out, it’s not just your life that looks the same, day in and day out. It’s also your thoughts. Pay attention and you’ll find yourself listening to the same thoughts, day in and day out.

So my point is not to insult you, but to illustrate that we live predominantly on autopilot. Our brains are full of autopilots. there’s the one for driving from your house to work in the morning and back. We’ve all gotten home from work and not even remembered the ride getting there. One of our brain’s other autopilots is constantly thinking about the past or the future. Life can’t happen in the past, nor can it happen in a future that doesn’t yet exist. And yet our mind persists; it’s comfortable.

iwannabealady.com be present with mindfulness thailand chiang mai

Many of the thoughts we’ve had today have dealt with things that have happened. You know what I’m talking about: rehashing the argument with your boyfriend, picking apart that meeting at work, feeling guilty about the donut you just ate. Conversely, many of our thoughts are about the future: what you’re going to wear to the party on Saturday, whether or not that party is worth going to, what you need to buy at the grocery store later, what that car repair will do to your finances, reminding yourself to google later how to initiate sex without feeling like a slut.

Do you remember getting dressed this morning, how it felt? Do you remember the feel of your hairbrush traveling along your scalp? Did you enjoy that? Did the co-worker you said good morning to look genuinely happy? Did you really look? How was the sky this morning? Were there clouds? You’re still thinking about the past.

How does your body feel In this moment? Are you thirsty? Could you use a stretch? Are you in a good mood? If not, can you do something right now to improve it, even just a little bit? Have you adjusted your body in some way while reading this? Is there something you can do in this moment that will make you more comfortable?

I remember stretching in dance class. bodies spread across the floor, breaths measured and deep, muscles firm. My professor would tell us to relax our bodies, and I would find myself relaxing. And then she would say, “make sure that your shoulders are falling into the ground,” and I would realize that my shoulders had not been relaxed. Then she would walk by and tap my quadricep, and I would realize that too wasn’t relaxed. And we would go through this process where I thought I had it, but she saw otherwise. So, what happened? I wasn’t fully present in my body. I was present in my thoughts. I gave my body the time and attention I assumed it needed, and I moved back to the place where brains like to go, my thoughts.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being present in our thoughts; however, I was needed elsewhere. When we allow our thoughts to be taken over by past and future, we are not present where we are needed, which is where life is happening, which is the present. We can’t change the past and the future is made up of present moments. So the best thing that we can do if we are concerned for the future is to focus on the present; think, what can I do in this moment right now that will ultimately lead to a better future? (We also want to be aware that a fixation on doing everything for the future is ultimately taking us out of the present as well).

Ways to Get Off Automatic and Be More Present

  1. Pay attention to your thoughts. If they are of the wash and repeat sort, then they are empty calories and taking up time that you can be living in and enjoying or learning from your present moment. (How do you like my mixed metaphors? Nevermind, pay attention).
  2. Trying to make sense of the past will take up your whole life. In addition, every moment that passes adds to that past which must be analyzed. That’s not to say, forget your past, but are those thoughts building you up? Are they encouraging who you want to be or how you want to live?
  3. Make car rides like a road trip movie. You know, there’s always perfect music and windows rolled down and sunshine. If you can do that, great. If your driving consists mainly of rush hour and rain, live that experience. How does the rain sound? Remember when we were kids and we had raindrop races? We didn’t sit around complaining about the rain (yes we did) but we found the beauty, something to appreciate.
  4. Do things with intention. Pay attention to whatever you’re doing in the moment. Find the art in it. It’s very difficult to focus on past and future when all of your focus is fully engaged in a present moment.
  5. It’s a continuous work in progress, so keep checking yourself. How am I being right now? How am I experiencing the world?
  6. Use your senses. Being present is more than thinking in the present moment; it’s about experiencing the present moment. Pay attention to your food, the environment, the way your body feels, your emotions and what stimulate them, the light, colors, etc.
  7. Don’t dismiss all of this as hippie shit.

This isn’t a complete guide to being present in life, but it’s an excellent start. Life is always taking place in the now.

 


My name is Lyz-Stephanie and I want to inspire you to live a more interesting, fulfilling and beautiful life. Think of me as your well-being and happiness guide. I know that things aren’t always easy. Life doesn’t drop dreams into our laps, but every day we can do something to make our lives happier and richer, make our minds more active and engaged. I’m on the journey. Will you join me?

If you like what you’re reading and think I’m kind of a cool chick, please share the link. And don’t forget to find me on the other side! Instagram I Twitter I Pinterest

15 thoughts on “Get Your Mind Right. Be Present.

  1. Hippie shit, it ain’t. That photo of you so ponderous goes with the theme so well. Those are some valid points to work on and mixed metaphors are never to be scoffed at. That dance class metaphor for example was excellent. I could relate to it because of my brief spell at street jazz. It’s amazing to think of the things that you do not know that you are not doing. Now after that odd Gertrude Stein-like usage of double negatives, I shall mark my exit. Peace out.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The things that we don’t not know that we are not doing… love a good double negative to shake things up in the brain. Coincidentally, double negatives weren’t always considered improper in the English language. It was quite common and began changing with increasing bourgeois standardization, marking other dialects, like Appalachian and Black Southern English as uneducated. Goodness, I’m off on a tangent. Anyhow, double neg away. Gertrude would be proud.

      I’m glad you connected with the dance example. It really stuck out to me. I also like the mixed images of street and jazz. I think lightness with jazz and heaviness with street 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Now that is something I did not know. That it is frowned upon because of the bourgeois. Like you know by now, I love tangents so carry on sistah! Gertrude was a bit off I think. I tried reading her but by the end of it my brain was in tangles and it spoke to me in all solemnity that I was crossing boundaries.
        Well despite the contrariness of the imagery that the two, street and jazz, bring with them — it was incredibly light on the feet. There were elements from hip hop, ballet and contemporary dance included in the routines with an exaggerated emphasis on executing perfect pirouettes and achieving splits. I miss it!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I can feel your longing and admiration of the style from reading this description. You really brought it to life just now. I can absolutely understand why you would miss it. I also really miss dance. So long as our old bones hold together there’s the opportunity to get back to it. And if our bones don’t hold together, we can get into dancing in the pool, I’m sure.

          Maybe if you can garner enough interest among your neighbors, your town can get a similar dance course started. I don’t know how those things work, but I’m just throwing out ideas.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Hmm true. That would be amazing. Amongst my neighbours are two gay boys and two labradors… the ones I do know that is. One of those guys is amazing at Zumba and has offered to teach me…maybe I should just take him up on that. The labradors I think would be too busy scoffing goodies than learning anything much. All day long I hear their deep woofs.

            Old bones indeed. I think I stand a better chance of trying it on land though, Lyz. I fear my non-swimming skills might not hold up the trauma of dancing in the water.

            Liked by 2 people

  2. BAAM Lyz! (mic drop)

    Ugh. If and when I’d catch myself on autopilot, it felt like a convulsion! Friends or coworkers I know might be thinking, “Should I call 9-1-1? He don’t look right.” But I was fine, just getting myself outta the proverbial rut. I am a DRD4-7R kinda dude, or sometimes otherwise known as an “Orchid” personality type as opposed to a Dandelion type. Tah-DAH… that’s me. 🙃

    This is a superb post Lyz! Tweeting it if you don’t mind. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Professor, and of course you can tweet it! I’d be honored. I have no idea how you add links to your comments but I’m currently reading the post and it’s so interesting. Nat Geo and Psychology Today in one place? Now that’s time well spent.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In several ways I am a geekish sorta nerd when it comes to science and Nature. I gorge myself on that stuff. 😛 NatGeo, Smithsonian, Air&Space, and all the Psych mags too — I could lose an entire day and most of the night lost in those subjects. I’m hopeless Lyz; admit me to the nearest Geek-Nerd Summer Camp, lifetime membership! I’d HOPE you’d come see me once or twice… throw me a few peanuts. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. (How do you like my mixed metaphors? Nevermind, pay attention).
    Trying to make sense of the past will take up your whole life. In addition, every moment that passes adds to that past which must be analyzed…. Damn I have to stop drinking coffee, or stop reading your blog. You crack me up!… I am going to walk away from the computer, put my coffee stained top in the washer and close my eyes for a few moments now 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Graceful…NOT!

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