How to love the life you are already living.
A New Look At is all about helping women create lives they love and I am beginning to think that one of the key skills is actually noticing when you are loving the life you are living.
Today is a beautiful September day and walking Angus this morning I caught myself distracted by what needed to be done at home rather than enjoying the walk. As I follow the same route every day it’s all too easy to slip into autopilot. It may be a familiar route but it’s also a beautiful one through woodland. Today it was particularly lovely and I paused to take it all in.
When I was a child I often got into trouble for daydreaming. I am a natural vision builder and more likely to be gazing into the future than paying attention to the here and now. I have had to learn to savour the moment, otherwise I miss so many opportunities for joy.
There are many reasons you can fail to see what’s under your nose. To help you identify what may be distracting you, we’ve developed an exercise : the presence compass.
How it works
Think of the points on a compass. You are standing in the middle facing north.
Take a moment to stand still and see which direction you lean in. Don’t judge or try to work out how to change it. Let your body lean in the direction that feels right.
Don’t worry if you don’t lean straight away, just relax and let your body guide you. If it helps, try closing your eyes.
When you find your “lean” take a moment to see if you are leaning North, East, West or South.
If you are leaning forwards or north, you may be allowing thoughts of the future to preoccupy you. Worrying about what might happen.
If you are leaning backwards, or south, you may be allowing what happened in the past to spoil the present moment. Worrying about what has happened, rather than enjoying what is happening.
If you are leaning west you may be distracted by what other people think. Wondering about how someone might judge what you are doing.
If you are leaning east you may be thinking about what someone else is doing. Comparing yourself to others and wondering if they are doing something better. The curse of social media is that we are constantly shown what others are doing and this drags our attention away.
Take a moment to identify which area might be stopping you enjoying the now. Don’t beat yourself up about it, this is just an awareness exercise. Also, don’t worry if you lean between the compass points. I often lean north west, distracted by what people might think and by the future.
What does leaning your body do?
When we allow our bodies to lead us, we tap into our embodied cognition. Embodied cognition is our body’s ability to learn through movement. This phenomenon explains why going for a walk can help us clear our thinking.
Ok I’ve found my lean, what next?
When you’ve acknowledged what’s pulling your attention, bring your body back to centre. By pulling your body back to centre, you combine embodied cognition with an intentional focus. We all wobble around the compass at some time. To be in the now, we just need to come back to the centre of our compass.
Why use the compass?
Our lives are a series of now moments strung together. What the presence compass shows us is how easy it is to get pulled out of the moment. By tapping into our body intelligence we can come back to now without getting distracted by negative self-talk or beating ourselves up about not being present.
The life you love could be right under your nose and you’re not noticing it. By taking time to focus on what you love about now, you could be surprised by how lovely your life is already without changing anything.
Simply put, you can enjoy what you’ve built so far.