Participating in Life

I’m not sure exactly when it happened but at some point, I forgot how to relax. I’m blaming my hectic lifestyle, because nothing else seems to make sense. Chasing after four kids, keeping a husband happy and a house in order in addition to holding down a full time job takes a toll on you after a while. I don’t know how to unwind when the opportunity presents itself. A friend came to Orlando for a visit not long ago, and my husband stayed home with the kids so that we could have some much needed girl time. We sat by the pool at a nearby resort and enjoyed the most beautiful sunset. At least I think it was a beautiful sunset. I can’t be completely sure, because my attention was focused elsewhere. My eyes were on the orange-tinged sky, but my mind was on the laundry that needed to be done, and the dinner that hadn’t been cooked. My friend made mention of how relaxing the day had been, but I couldn’t echo her sentiments. I had been sitting in the lounge chair next to her, attempting to listen to an audio book on my ipod. Lost in my worries, the plot of the story got away from me and I eventually turned it off. I was filled with anxiety at the to-do list I was composing in my head and it became a struggle to sit still after a while.

I am not normally an envious person, but envy is the very feeling that filled me when I looked over at my friend, who was blissfully turning a shade of warm chocolate as she thumbed through a magazine. How did she do that? How did she sit there so content without worrying about what might be happening at work in her absence, or planning out the bills she needed to pay for the month? How did she focus on her magazine without being distracted by a mental grocery list that insisted on being a part of her conscious thoughts?

For me, life happens at such an erratic pace that I don’t take the time to actually stop and appreciate it. My weeks blend together, and I can’t distinguish the events of this month from those of last month. At a point of desperation, I turned to the internet for help. In my search, I came across a concept known as living mindfully. It sounded logical enough, and involved becoming more aware of oneself and the environment around us. There are many different concepts to incorporate into my life, and it won’t happen overnight. I plan to make changes little by little, and hopefully I will remember what it means to relax. My first decision was to decrease my reliance on technology. I am not throwing my computer into the dumpster, but I will be limiting the amount of time I allow my computer to steal from my life. When I think about how much time I spend mindlessly “window shopping” online or playing Sims Social, I realize how much of that time could have been spent learning a new recipe, sewing, or engaging in some other activity that I could actually benefit from. While I won’t be deleting my blog (quite the opposite), I will have a decreased presence on social networks.

I will probably post from time to time on the ways that I go about living mindfully on this blog, but I don’t plan to make it a regular feature just yet. Hopefully the information I stumble across on my quest to live my life on the field instead of from the sidelines will benefit some of you the way that it benefits me.

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