mindfulness

Three easy ways to move with intention.

Do you move with intention?
If you’re thinking, “What in the hell is that?”, you’re not alone.

Intention (noun) ~ the end or object intended; purpose.

Moving with intention is essentially the same as moving with purpose.
Do you move with purpose?
I believe that the answer to that question, more often than not, is no.
Most of us live life from the shoulders up.  Ignoring our bodies and using distraction to get through.
Putting the ear buds in and tuning out, rather than in.

Why not try something new, and move with intention?  Here are three easy ways to begin:

1) Move. Our society makes it incredibly easy to move very little throughout the day – so much so, that we spend hundreds of dollars every year on exercise. While I love mixing up my exercise routine and I’m not against the gym, it’s as simple as moving your body. Park further away. Take the stairs. Return the shopping cart to the store. Walk down the hall, instead of sending that email.  Let it be easy. Intend to move.

2) Unplug. Unplug for two reasons. The first being that when you’re “plugged in” – you lose a sense (or two). Listening to music/chatting on the phone impairs your ability to hear other things. It also can impair your ability to see – or at least be present. You’re not truly engaged with your surroundings. You can’t hear that bike coming up behind you, or see the cross walk sign.  And, you miss some of the joy of movement in your lack of presence.  The second reason is that your body will fall in line to the cadence of whatever you’re listening to. Slow songs = slow cadence (think longer time on each foot) and faster songs = faster cadence (think less time on each foot, thus less chance for injury).
You don’t have to unplug all of the time, but the more aware of your movement and your surroundings, the better.

3) Use pain as an indicator. Most people feel pain and they do one of two things: stop or push it away/ignore it. Pain is simply an indication: you’re doing something wrong. Adjust. Now, obviously, if it’s acute and severe pain, stop. But if your knee starts to hurt, or your foot is cramping – adjust. Shorten your stride. Wiggle your toes. If you back hurts, get up and walk around.  See if you can make the pain go away. Pain ignored becomes some sort of “~itis” (plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, etc.) or if it’s pushed away for long enough, some sort of surgery. Don’t go that far. Use pain as an indication to adjust.

You’ve moved mindlessly for long enough – it’s time to tune in.  How do you move, or sit still?
Move with intention.

…and what else?

Just when you think you’ve got the answer, one more question: and what else?

know your plan for the day?…workout?….meals?…play?
what to do next?
got the solution?
what’s your body telling you to do?
what’s the easiest thing to do?…the hardest?
what could we do next?  
what do you want to do?

….and what else?  What else could we do here?  Where else could we go?  How else can I move today (other than run)?  What else can I eat?

Invite curiosity in to your routines (work, movement, fuel, etc).
….and what else?
Take a step back, and do something a bit out of the ordinary.
Innovate your every day.

The possibilities are endless.
simply open the door.

Questions?

Right now I’m obsessed with questions. Asking questions of anyone that crosses my path.
Asking questions of myself.
I’m like that annoying child that continually asks “why?”.

I recently read an article though, that pointed out that quest is the first part of question.

Quest ~ (noun) a search or pursuit made in order to find or obtain something.
ex) The quest for knowledge.

I love that.
With every question, we go on a quest…some longer than others.
What sort of quest are you on?
My three favorite questions right now are:
Who am I becoming?/Who do I most want to be?
How can I improve?
What can I let go?

Each question calls forth a different response. And sometimes I don’t even respond…I simply ponder. I try to avoid questions with one word answers or ones that don’t allow for opening or a shift of some sort (why is this happening to me? why is this so hard? who are these kids anyway?)

When I meet with something that doesn’t go my way, I ask a question.
How can this be easier? How can I improve the situation?

The quality of our lives is dependent upon the questions we ask.
What are you asking?

Live your way into the answer.

Are you improving?

How can I improve?
How often do you ask this question?

Improve ~ (noun) to bring into a more desirable or excellent condition

If you’re like most, you don’t ask this question enough.
Most people tend to ask, is this right?
The math equation.  Posture.  Downward dog.  Baking.  The report.  Sex.  Painting.  Drawing.  Excel spreadsheets.  The proposal.  Recipes.
Am I getting this right?

Looking over our shoulders, asking for approval.
Eyebrows raised.  Is this right?

This, I believe, is restrictive in two major ways:
The answer is either yes or no – and can be left at that (hopefully it’s not, but could be) and thus, there’s little to no growth.
It feels crappy and is dis-empowering.  Asking for verification outside of ourselves.
Soul diminishing.

Instead, what if you asked: how can I improve?
As in, I think this is pretty good, but nudge me a little further.
Or, I’ve got no freaking clue here – a little help?  What can I do better?

Soul expanding.  Growth enhancing.
Power~full.
How can you improve?
move into it.

What are you willing to let go of?

What are you willing to let go of, to make space for something new?

It could be something small (relatively)….like the tension in your body.  The clutter on your desk.  The books that you’ve accumulated in your home.  The shoes that no longer fit. That exercise program that you hate.

Or something larger (again, perspective)….like the need to be in control.  To have the right answer.  The job that you dread going to.  That habit that doesn’t serve you any longer. That boyfriend (or girlfriend), that’s really not so nice.  The belief (you know the one), that’s holding you back.

Not everything in our past belongs in the present.  Not everything in the present, belongs in the future.  Not everything serves who you most want to be. 

So my friend what is it for you?  What are willing to let go of, to make space for something new?

Me?  I’m cleaning out my closets.  Metaphorically, and literally.  Letting go of clothes I don’t wear, and fears that keep me safe…it’s not easy, and it’s uncomfortable.  Right where I most (and sometimes least) want to be.

Feeling lighter already.

What are you circulating?

When we talk about circulation most often we think of blood.
The transfer of nutrients throughout the body.
If your blood flow gets cut off, you’re in deep, deep trouble.
Or perhaps, we think about money.  Circulating money out into the world.

Yet by definition, circulation can be anything.

Circulation: (noun) 4. the transmission or passage of anything from place to place or person to person (dictionary.com)

You can circulate, or hoard, anything.
Energy, food, love, money, generosity, kindness, laughter, etc.

What are you circulating?  Or hoarding?
Sometimes we withhold our love in fear that someone won’t love us back.  Love anyway.

We withhold money in fear of being taken advantage of, in saving for a disaster in the future, or in wanting to purchase the next big thing.  Share your money anyway, even if you have little to give.

We withhold our trust, because someone hasn’t earned it yet.  Trust anyway.

Me?  I have been to know to hoard my presence.  In fear that I won’t be good enough.  Or that I won’t be liked.  Show up anyway.

The more that you circulate, the more you have to give.
What can you pass around today?

move into it. 

What do you see?

Are you just looking, or can you tell me ~ what do you see?
Too often, we look.  We go on auto-pilot, glancing around, not really taking anything in.  The more familiar we are with our surroundings, the less we truly see them.  What’s worse, without noticing, we often look at what’s in front of us and immediately jump to our own story – to our thoughts and beliefs, to what’s going on in our own lives – and completely disregard truly seeing.

Pay attention.  Instead of just looking, can you tell me, what do you see?

Sometimes I look at whiny, defiant children (and I want to scream).  And then I remember.  It’s a privilege to spend my days with my children, and I see balled up energy waiting for some love, attention and play (and sometimes quiet reading).

At times I look at aggression. On the news, at the grocery store, on the road.  It’s easy to respond in that same vein. And then I remember – I don’t want to feel like that, and I’ve got no idea what that person has been through. Then, do my best to see love.

Sometimes I look at people passing me, running faster, easier.  And I get frustrated (and go slower).  But then I look up, and see the sky and the water and I remember how much I love to be outside, moving.

Sometimes I look at drivers cutting me off, not using turn signals, not moving.  Anger moves in, and then I remember ( and take a deep breath).  I see my surroundings, and remind myself, there’s more than enough time.

Take a moment.  Don’t just look around.
Tell me, what do you see?

An office full of clutter?  Or a temple in which to create.

A co-worker whining to you?  Or someone in need of a hug.

A boring salad?  Or earth, water and sunshine.  Health.

The road and that three mile walk in the rain?  Or the open air, rocks and benches and random strangers.  Freedom and peace.

Tell me, what do you see?

There’s more than meets the eye.  But you might have to do more than look.
Be moved by what you see.

How do you know?

How do you know?

There are questions that you can answer definitively.  You can search for historical facts on the Internet.  Solve math problems.  Calculate with a computer program.  Look up nutritional data.  The list could go on….
But there are other quandaries that aren’t so easy.
Those that don’t have ONE right answer, and in explaining how you know, the words may not come so easily.

How do you know?

Know ~ (verb) to perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty.
How do you know…

that you love him (or her)?
this partnership will rock?
you should say YES (or no) to the job, deal, project, proposal, date?
that this is THE house?
whether you should go this way, or that?

I’ve made enough wrong decisions to realize that what I thought I knew was really me wanting to know.  Wanting to be sure, and missing all of the signs in the process (hindsight is 20/20, right?!).  I’ve acted against my “knowing” enough to realize what it feels like in my body (tightness, whirring almost in the chest).  To know how it plays out in my mind (obsession, anxiety and stress).

The place that knows is always quieter.  Much more subtle.  Clearer (and cleaner) with the truth.  That doesn’t mean that my “knowing” keeps me from making mistakes, but those mistakes are ones that are easier to accept ~ and feel better in the process.

So tell me, how do you know?
Where does your knowing reside?
How do you know that it (whatever it may be) is right?

The challenge?
Trust that knowing.  And act on it.

The battle.

How do you meet your resistance?
Just before you exercise? On the way to the gym?
As you dial the phone?
Before you sit down to write?
As you’re beginning a project?
When you try to eat healthy?

Mine shows up every morning at 5:45am.
That just happens to be when my alarm goes off.
Perhaps it’s there earlier, just waiting….watching me sleep….
The alarm rings, and the resistance begins.

Thoughts spin in my head….
The bed is soo warm.
It’s cold outside.
Oh wait, was that a rain drop?
Is the wind blowing?
I’ll go later.  (right)
How many times did I wake last night?
I’m soooo tired.

And I face a choice: get out of bed and run or snuggle in and sleep.
Mostly, sleep wins.
It has been my goal this past year to rise early.  On occasion I do, mostly I don’t.
However. However.
Last week, I had one glorious morning when my boy woke me at 4:55am.  As I tucked him back into bed, I decided to stay awake. I did all kinds of things. I meditated. Checked my email. Got four miles in. Rinsed off. Made lunches. Put on make up. I dressed – and not even in exercise gear. It was fabulous.
And my day rocked because of it.

My intention: to recreate that every morning. Now I know, that every morning is not going to be that great. Yet, I also know that I’m a much better mama/wife/nicer person in general when I’ve had a little time to myself. And what better way to start the day?

So my new wake time is going to be 5am.
You read that right – 5:15am (WTF???) Who does that???
I do…now.  Anyone with me?  You don’t even have to run.

I fully expect resistance to show up every morning, and more often than not I’m going to win.
I’m curious though – how do you handle resistance?
What’s your battle, and how will you win?

Where are you checking the box?

You know what I mean.
Getting that workout in, but really just going through the motions.
Sitting in the pew every Sunday, yet not completely present.
Asking “how are you?” and not hearing the answer or even asking the right question.
Showing up for that 8-5, but only doing what’s expected.  Playing inside the box.

Sometimes it’s necessary – just to get by.  And some times, you need a break.
But if you skate for too long, laziness sets in.
You get comfortable, and all of sudden you’re not participating in your own life. 

And to live is an action.

It’s a verb – no matter what label you use…friend, buddist, entreprenuear, husband, CFO, aunt, triathlete, mother, artist, yogi, old-fart.
Whatever it is, it is a verb.  Do it with flare.

So take a look.  Where are you checking the box?
Health.  Career.  Spirit.  Relationships.  Learning.

Where can you step it up a notch?
Go all beast mode if you can!
participate in your own well-being.

Set your life on fire.  Seek those who fan your flames.
~ Rumi