November 1: Fall Back, Spring Ahead, or Should We Savor?
If the problem can be solved why worry? If the problem cannot be solved worrying will do you no good.Buddha
The annual ritual of setting back our clocks, gave pause for reflection this week. Established during World War ! to save energy, the yearly practice has us savoring the extra hour of sleep in the morning, yet bewailing how much earlier it gets dark in the afternoon. As the daylight hours decrease, our own senses of positivity can ebb away. In addition, perceptions of helplessness in our lives and world events can lead to chronic stress and impact our health.
Normally, I am an optimist. But as a life-long, “what if thinker”and worrier, the current state of the world has set my worrisome thoughts on overdrive. Concerns over our environment, political climate, social divisions, and pandemic have sent spiraling thoughts down a warren of rabbit holes, none of which result in positive scenarios.
Yet this yearly tradition of time setting can also be a reminder that we don’t have to “fall back” on old regrets that take away the light and diminish joys in our life. We also don’t have to live in a chronic anxious state, with thoughts that “spring ahead” unto a maze of “what if” negative scenarios. The alternative seems to practice what both both the wisdom religions and modern day psychiatry recommend and that is to savor….or in other words, be mindful of the present.
What is Mindfullness? It is an established practice found in both in ancient religions and also a staple of therapeutic strategies in psychiatry since the 70’s. Being Mindful means when we set our intentions on developing a calm and peaceful mindset by “focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.” Definitions from Oxford Languages
You cannot control the results, only your actions.Allan Lokos
Being mindful is a individual and deeply personal endeavor and one I work on daily. In my own “training program” I’ve made some conscious behavioral choices which now includes: a daily meditative practice each morning, https://chopracentermeditation.com/experience, positive bedside readings, a walk in nature each day, and decreasing the time spent on quests on the internet for news. I have found that this practice of “savoring the present” is increasing my own awareness of the beauty and gifts of life and is helping to develop a sense of serenity.
But like most things in life when learning a new skill, we have to practice and persevere in our own attempts to rewire our brains. There is a definite learning curve. Challenging and emotionally demanding events in life can spiral us out of feeling grateful and serene Yet the reward of a calm and peaceful heart and mind is the lure to keep us moving in a positive direction.
How do you maintain a sense of calm and serenity in today’s world?
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The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.Jon Kabat-Zinn
To think in terms of either pessimism or optimism oversimplifies the truth. The problem is to see reality as it is.Thích Nhất Hạnh
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.Buddha
Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is life.Thích Nhất Hạnh
The things that matter most in our lives are not fantastic or grand. They are moments when we touch one another.Jack Kornfield
You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.Pema Chödrön
Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts.Pema Chödrön
The art of peaceful living comes down to living compassionately & wisely.Allan Lokos
There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life.Tara Brach
A few simple tips for life: feet on the ground, head to the skies, heart open…quiet mind.Rasheed Ogunlaru
Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.Buddha
Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.Amit Ray
A wonderful source for information on mindfulness and additional quotes:
Currently On My Bedside Table: