Let’s not race without a finishing line.

When we are busy, the speed and flurry of our thoughts often leads our minds to be somewhere far ahead of where we are physically. I picture this as a running track where the participants are trying to catch up with their brains, who have taken a clear lead in the race.

This kind of racing is in itself not a problem, as long as there is a finishing line. A point where your thinking is once again reined in, back in the here and now, allowing your body and your mind to be in the same place at the same time. However, the opposite can sometime end up being a way of living. As if someone accidentally forgot to paint a finishing line on the track and we therefore end up never being fully present in our own bodies. I think I spent a lot of time like that during my “corporate” years, but that fortunately seems like a long time ago. An earlier conversation today, though, got me thinking about how we can best go about turning the race around or perhaps prevent the race from taking place at all.

Naturally there are always things in your external environment you can do, like tell your boss that you are too stretched, cancel Christmas this year, delay stuff on your to-do list, lower your criteria for the outcome (as in deliver 80% instead of 100%). Those are some options.

IMG_2685Another is to practice noticing the little things. To hit the pause button, even just for the briefest of moments. To notice what the water from the shower feels like on your skin, what the tea in your mouth tastes like. Notice the many different colours in the eyes of your children or the small, still slightly pink, z shaped scar just under the hairline, 4 inches away from the dot shaped scar, that was once a chicken pox. Notice the hues of the leaves, the smell of the food you are cooking or of the bar of soap in your hands. For a brief moment, pause and pay attention to the sounds around you, the voices, the humming, the ticking. Notice the feel of your duvet as you tuck yourself in bed. The weather as it meets your cheeks.

Just practise. Pause. Notice. Be. And somehow that other race, becomes a race not worth running. At least unless we can be certain that somebody remembered to paint that very important finishing line.

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4 thoughts on “Let’s not race without a finishing line.

  1. I really admire your sparing use of words – everything you write paints a picture or ‘matters’ in some way.
    If you knew me, you would never believe me, but I started to try meditation lately. Just a couple of minutes here and there (mini medi?) It makes a world of difference. Oddly, I found it easier to be in the present in corporate years. Now, with 3 little kiddies, I am too often thinking ahead on the conveyor belt of feeding them fed and keeping them well. When I play with them, where they lead the game, I am truly present. I need to do that more.

    • Thank you for your kind words about my posts, Mary. It means a lot to me.
      With 3 little ones there is sooo much to do. I know I would find it very difficult to stay in the moment. Doing a bit of meditation is a great idea – something I am keen to implement in my daily life as well. And playing sounds like just the thing to do more of.

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