Saturday 21st October 2017,
Inspired Girl

3 Techniques to Begin Practicing Being Present

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Last week I sent an email with a link to 44 pages of simple, healthy, delicious recipes. I was so happy to hear from so many of you who are already enjoying them!! Sometimes simply having tools is all we need to find the inspiration within ourselves to make a change. Food is one of the 3 critical fuel sources – a foundational piece to any change we want to make in our lives. And, if we don’t want to make a change, it’s still a key component to being our most vibrant selves. Food is fuel not only to energize our bodies, but also to energize our lives! This was something I had a hard time realizing, because I was always so stuck on food just affecting my weight, I forgot all the incredible wonders of food far beyond the scale. But, when I passed out at Menlo Park Mall many years ago, for the first time in my life, I began to recognize that food played a much more significant role than I was giving it credit for. I now call this the “Food-Life Connection”, and mine was clearly out-of-balance.

Restoring balance to your food-life connection is not about depriving yourself through dieting. On the contrary, it’s about recognizing the amazing power of food and the connection between food and life. By understanding the food-life connection, and by exploring and restoring your own personal food-life connection, you begin to use food in ways that are more physically and emotionally healthful. You can use food as fuel for your body and as fuel for your life in a balanced way that nourishes your body and your soul. You can transform, reset, and re-balance your food-life connection by taking five very important steps: ditching the dieter’s mentality, educating yourself, slowing down, being present, and practicing self-care. I explain how to do this all in great detail in the first chapter of my book.

Being present is a topic that often stirs a lot of questions. It sounds “good in theory”, but how can one actually “be present”? I remember asking this once to a very “Zen” teacher in a class I was taking , and his response was that he meditated for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening. WHAT?! I laughed as I told him he must not be from Jersey! The people I work with barely have two minutes, let alone two hours!!

But, I learned something important from him, it’s not the amount of time but the commitment ~ being present is a daily, ongoing practice, even if you begin by practicing 2 minutes in the morning and 2 minutes in the evening…the commitment to the practice is work {and I understand because I have to work at it} but consider the alternative…you may recall my post about my experience with fast cars and a yoga teacher, and the man lying in the grass as cars whizzed by not noticing him. Here’s a snippet:

“We miss moments when we are not present. Sometimes we miss the beauty of a bird flying past us, the miraculous moment when a flower first blooms, or even the sound of our children’s laughter; other times we miss the vulnerable cry for help of another human being lying in the grass or sitting next to us in the office or even at our own dinner table. We need each other for the joys and the pains, but we can only be there for each other if we are fully present in this amazing gift of life.”

So, yes, being present is necessary, and here are some practical ways to begin your practice in being present:

* Become Aware When Your Mind Isn’t There: Awareness is the first key to making a change. While practicing presence and being present can be overwhelming, I often suggest simply becoming aware when your mind isn’t there with you in the moment. Then, use a visualization technique to bring you back to center.

* The Three Lightbulbs: Think of three lightbulbs. One is in a box in the cabinet, one is in the garbage recently burned out, and one is in the light fixture burning bright. The lightbulb in the cabinet has the promise of energy, the hope of light, but no actual power because it’s not plugged in to a present-moment energy source. The lightbulb in the garbage has no power—its power is in the past, gone. The lightbulb in the fixture holds
all the energy and power. When you become aware that you are not in the moment, visualize twisting in a lightbulb and watching a bright light appear when it’s fully plugged in. That bright light is you, back to center, in this moment, where you have the power to connect, to be, to live fully as the magnificently made human being you were born to be.

* Driving in the Car: Picture yourself driving a car. Imagine you are staring only in the rearview mirror. What will happen? You’ll crash into the car in front of you. Next, imagine focusing on three traffic lights ahead, way down the road. What will happen? You will miss the traffic light that you are approaching and possibly run a red light. Now, imagine driving a car and focusing on the road in front of you, using present- moment energy to push the gas pedal or pump on the break. Now you’re in the present moment, rather than looking back at the past or forward into the future.

* A Snap Back in the Moment: This visualization is very simple and is intended to pop you back into the moment. Snap your fingers. Hear the sound and remember it. Do it over and over so it is crisp, loud, and clear in your mind. When you become aware that you are not in the moment, snap yourself back to center. To continue being mindful, you’ll have to begin to free up space in your mind. We’ll discuss this in greater detail in Chapter 2 of my book, but for now, if your mind is racing with thoughts, worries, and concerns, use a journal to clear some of the clutter from your mind. What’s swirling around in your head? What are you thinking about? Worrying about? What’s sitting on your to-do list? Write it all down in whatever way feels best—there is no wrong way to do this. You can journal in prose, jot down bullet points, cut out pictures and create a cluttered-mind collage, or create a spreadsheet. The idea is to get your concerns out of your head and onto paper, leaving the space you need in your mind to be creative and insightful and live a compassionate, energetic life.
If you want to dive more into this, I have a whole big, pink book about it! You can order it online here: http://thebalancebook.info

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About The Author

writer. speaker. dreamer. foodie. late night blogger. wife. mother. believer. Founder of Inspirista Lifestyle Design + Co-Founder of The Domesticated Dad + Author of Balance Book & Little Miss Negative...

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