Whatever you've got on today, make sure that you open up a gap of, say, anything between fifteen to thirty minutes to get outside, away from it all and simply experience... just be.
We're so busy doing (often doing stuff we shouldn't be doing at all) that we forget about being... the essence of being alive!
It doesn't matter where you are or what your options are for getting out "into reality" - even if you're far away from anywhere "nice" - wherever you find yourself, it's always nice to experience being alive.
I was twenty-two years working for myself last Thursday - an anniversary which give rise to a pause for reflection.
First of all, it struck me how much science has caught up with what we intuitively know, feel and experience. For 2,500 years the practice of meditation has enabled people shift their mindset, take control of their state of mind. Twenty two years ago, when I started teaching people about meditation and how to do it, one of my first clients (who also happened to be amongst a group of "old clients" that I had a workshop for last September) said to me: "I'm sure what you're teaching will eventually become mainstream... but not in our lifetime!"
Yet, here we are, just twenty-two years later and, not only is it mainstream, it's everywhere... everyone thinks they know about mindfulness these days. And that's the problem - it's not good enough to know about mindfulness, you've got to feel it. As a friend said to me recently: "When I did my first workshop with you, I understood mindfulness, completely got it. But last week, I felt it".
In the last twenty two years, science has caught up with what we feel... first cognitive psychology got its act together in investigating conscious awareness (it took psychology just over one hundred years to turn its attention to one of its most important and fundamental questions!) and then neuroscience opened up a whole new vista for us. No longer did we need to base our neural understanding on rats' brains, mice's brains (not sure it my grammar is correct there!), damaged or dear brains. We can now see what's going on in real time and the very real that meditation has on those parts of the brain involved in conscious awareness.
However, science will never catch up with the individual experience - how you feel when you take control of your state of mind, what it feels like to be liberated, focused, in the zone, in flow... alive.
I treated myself to a coffee and a traditional bun in Dublin's newest oldest tearooms... Bewleys on Grafton Street. The refreshments were nice, the entertainment better...
Next to me, one woman spent twenty minutes complaining about her son's girlfriend, whilst the other lady egged her on. "Well, they arrived for Christmas" she said "and I had a full Irish breakfast ready for them. But what did the girlfriend want?... McDonalds! - some egg thing and a little bottle of orange juice... and she only took one mouthful of the juice!"
"When they were leaving, I found a perfectly good gift-bag in the bin, with four bottles of juice with just a sip out of each of them! So I said to my son, in front of her, 'You weren't brought up to waste orange juice like that... and look at that gift-bag, it's perfect, take it out of the bin and wipe it... I can use that next Christmas'."
Now, I ask you, what's become of the younger generation?!!