I’ve been working flat out lately, rushing from thing to thing.
This is what I teach people not to do!
Because when we’re not focussed on exactly what we’re doing, right now, we find that everything loses its shine.
Things can become quite boring and unsatisfying. Instead of listening to people talking we find ourselves stifling a yawn. Instead of enjoying time off, we find ourselves swiping and scrolling our time into the ether.
Our mind loves to distract us from the present moment.
It rushes off into the future or dwells in the past.
Most of us are suffering from an outbreak of Rushey-Mind.
When you’re at work you’re wishing you were at home, when you’re at home you’re thinking about work.
With so much going on it’s becoming harder and harder for us to keep our mind on the present moment. It’s a skill that can be learnt though, if you want to learn it, we should talk.
This tendency for our mind to wander is why so many of us spend all our time constantly seeking the next thrill that will excite us. It’s why so many people use alcohol and drugs to get a rush. It’s why ads, porn and reality shows keep getting more and more extreme – we’re desensitised to the rush that comes from being shocked, so media has to become more and more shocking for us to raise an eyebrow. We’re seeking more every day, more drama, more flair, more madness.
First there were circuses with a couple of horses and a donkey.
Now there’s Cirque du Soleil.
I’ve worked for billionaires for years, they don’t sit around content with what they have, they’re constantly working, planning, looking to buy the next superyacht/ private island/ empire. Their mind still tells them they need MORE.
Do you think astronauts get to the moon and then feel so finitely fulfilled that they need not do anything substantial for the rest of their lives?
Our minds are wired for MORE MORE MORE.
It’s great to be growing and expanding and earning, nothing wrong with that at all. It’s only wrong when you can never be content with what you already have.
Because if you’re always looking for the next thing to make you happy; next promotion; next event; next life milestone; you will be searching forever. And in the meantime, you will feel that life is passing you by. And it will.
As I was saying, before I got sidetracked by my own thoughts
I have recently been falling prey to this tendency of the mind to focus on something other than what I’m doing. In my case, my mind’s latest focus has been work. When I fall in love, my mind’s focus is the lucky chap (and sex). When I get excited about a project I’m building, my mind focuses on that.
Studies have shown that no matter how unenjoyable your present moment task, when you “mind wander”, even if you’re thinking about something neutral or positive, you’re less happy when your mind is focussing on something other than what you’re doing.
Lately in yoga I’ve been writing my next blog post in my head, while I’m cooking I’ve been listening to audiobooks about business, when I’m biking somewhere I’m calling people because I don’t have time to catch up with them as often as I’d like because I’m working too much. I have one friend who I always call when I’m doing the dishes.
It’s a running joke that as soon as I start banging things around, it’s a good time to call him.
But what I should be doing in all these situations is focussing on what I’m actually doing. I can’t enjoy yoga if I’m focused inside my head. Even mundane tasks like doing the dishes become a lot less mundane when you stop trying to be somewhere else in your mind. It’s the resistance to the present moment that causes the sense of unease and boredom.
So I decided to switch off entirely and went camping in the wilderness.
By wilderness I mean the front lawn of a friend’s house for her 30th. Although we did stay in a place called Forrest for one night, that was rather remote! And I did actually switch off my phone for most of the weekend, and just enjoyed being where I was with the lovely people I was with.
Getting away and switching off is so important for living a bloody good life – ESPECIALLY when everything is hectic and you don’t feel like you have time to.
Make sure you’re making room in your life for switching off and getting away, especially if you live in a city.
If you find yourself unable to switch off when you have time off work, we need to talk. I’ll explain how mindfulness will help you enjoy life a whole hell of a lot more.
Ps, how tiny is our tent!?
Bloody Good Chap is 6″3…