New seasons, new schedules, and too many details can very easily take us out of the here and now and into the unknown “there and someday.” You know you are there if you are overusing these sentence stems: “What if I can’t… What if we don’t…. and then what… how will we afford, what if she…????”… and on and on the monkey mind goes.
Dwelling too much on the future, trying to nail down every detail, is a surefire recipe for stress. We need to plan, we need to forecast, we need to choose from a number of options, but we don’t have to have it all nailed down today.
Try this – Focus on the middle distance. We know that mindfulness, present moment awareness combined with self-compassion, is the best option for or nervous system. If you have been in planning mode too much lately, gently pull yourself back for few moments. You’ll come back refreshed and better able to make the next big decision. This exercise works best if you are outside or near a window where you can see at least 50 to 100 yards in front of you, even better if you can see the horizon.
- Close your eyes – 3 cleansing breaths.
- Drop all planning or remembering, knowing that the choices will still be there when you are through with this practice.
- Open your eyes.
- Gaze gently in front of you and slowly lift your eyes to the middle distance or the horizon.
- Take in what is right in front of you. It sometimes helps to label what you see, noticing details.
- Keep lengthening your gaze, keep thoughts on what you can see, gently naming, and reminding yourself that you can take a break from decision-making.
Just as we can adjust the length of our gaze, so too can we adjust the scope of our planning. We can plan to be friendly just for today, loving just for today, compassionate just for today, joyful just for today. When the future feels overwhelming, give yourself a break and enjoy the middle distance.
Yoga pose of the day – Eye Palming: Check out this great set of yoga poses for tired eyes.
We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!