Over the past couple of years, as I’ve watched my son grow from a baby into a remarkable little boy, I’ve learned that a young child can teach an adult three key things:
- to be happy for no specific reason at all
- to always be curious and engaged with whatever is going on in the moment
- to leverage all the available resources to get as much as you possibly can of what you desire 😉
It’s easy to see how the first two points reflect certain aspects of mindfulness – choosing to be happy and present. But, in my case, the third point is the most powerful mindfulness lesson of them all. You see, in our household, the third point often means Mac is begging ME to be more mindful. Because 90% of the time what he desires more than anything else in the world is more of daddy’s undivided attention – my full presence with him.
Yes, my little Mac has taught me a thing or two about the importance of being mindful and present. In fact, he has several unique ways of calling me out whenever I’m doing the opposite. Let me give you one simple, yet profound, example:
If Mac and I are playing in his bedroom and I walk out of the room for a few moments to do something, Mac will look around and shout, “Daddy, where are you?”
Seems like a logical response, right? But here’s the kicker…
If I never leave the room while we’re playing, but my iPhone vibrates with a random notification that distracts me for a few moments, Mac will look directly at me and shout, “Daddy, where are you?”
In both cases, Mac knows I’m not present. To him, my emotionally absent, distracted mindset is akin to me getting up and physically walking out of the room on him.
When I realized this, I made a change.
Recenter Your Mind – 12 Quotations
As you can tell, even though I’ve been studying and practicing mindfulness for the better part of a decade, I’m still very much a student of it (yes, sometimes my son is my best teacher too). And I honestly feel blessed by each new lesson I receive. Because, as I see it, the greatest thing about being a life-long student of mindfulness is that I learn more and more about myself with each passing day. My growing awareness of myself in the present helps me to better understand what’s really going on in my head and heart every step of the way.
If you’ve been feeling anxious a lot lately, or simply out of touch with what’s important to you, I urge you to become a student of mindfulness alongside me. It’s time to recenter your mind.
This morning, after finishing up a coaching call with a new course student who’s working diligently to be more mindful about her top priorities – her family and the impact she’s making with her non-profit startup – I’ve been reflecting on some of the key truths Angel and I live by, and subsequently pass on to our students, that have collectively recentered our minds and improved our mindful awareness over the years. I’ve distilled these truths into twelve easy-to-digest quotations for you, in hopes that you may find value in them today…
- At times, you have to say “no” to good things to be able to say “yes” to important things. You can’t do it all. Be mindful and choose wisely.
- The best gift you can give someone is the purity of your full attention. Just be present with them and pay attention to the little things. Do so and you will discover the best in both yourself and them.
- Your presence can be carried with you wherever you go. Appreciate the small moments. There are few joys in life that equal a good conversation, a good read, a good walk, a good hug, a good smile, or a good deep breath.
- Worry is the biggest enemy of the present moment. It does nothing but steal your joy and keep you very busy doing absolutely nothing at all.
- The problem is rarely the problem. The problem is often the incredible amount of overthinking you’re doing with the problem. Let it go and be free.
- The more anger toward the past you carry in your heart, the less capable you are of loving the present. And remember, letting go isn’t about having the ability to forget the past – it’s about having the wisdom and strength to embrace the present.
- Paradise is not a place – it’s a state of mind. Whenever the grass looks greener on the other side… Stop staring, stop comparing, stop complaining, and start watering the grass you’re standing on.
- What separates mindful privilege from empty entitlement is gratitude. A mindful heart is a grateful one – it doesn’t take things for granted. And the greatest gift of this gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more mindful you become.
- The secret to happiness is not always in doing what you like, but in mindfully liking whatever you do. Be present with each step, do your very best, and let go of the rest. There is always, always, always some reason to be grateful and some interesting lesson to learn along the way.
- The most fundamental lapse of mindfulness – the most common harm we do to ourselves – is to practice ignorance by not having the courage and the respect to slow down and look at ourselves honestly and gently.
- In order to understand the world, we have to turn away from it on occasion. Sometimes we simply need to distance ourselves to see things clearly again. It’s important to remember that downtime, rest, and play are productive too.
- You should sit quietly for fifteen minutes every day to gather your thoughts, unless you’re too busy, in which case you should sit for an hour. Remember this. The world is as we are inside. What we think, we see, and we ultimately become. So gather and choose your thoughts wisely. Think how you want to live.
Mindfulness as a Daily Ritual
Mindfulness as a daily ritual is the ultimate challenge and practice. It’s a way of living, of being, of seeing, of tapping into the full power of your humanity.
Ready to get started?
Use the mindfulness quotes above to recenter yourself.
And then practice…
- Being aware of what’s happening in the present moment without wishing it were different
- Enjoying each pleasant experience without holding on when it changes (which it will)
- Being with each unpleasant experience without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t)
Ritualize this kind of mindfulness into your daily routines, and you will undoubtedly change the way you spend the rest of your life. (Angel and I build mindful, life-changing rituals with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy.)
Please share this post with others who you think will benefit from it, and also share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. If you’re up to it, I’d love it if you shared an additional quote, reminder, or strategy that helps you to be more mindful and present, especially when life gets hectic.
And finally, be sure to sign-up for our free newsletter if you’re interested in reading more thought-provoking quotes and related life lessons like the ones covered in this article.
Photo by: Morgan Sessions