I started this morning with a read of Attorney At Work and an insightful post from Margery Leveen Sher about getting the most out of life:
“When we talk about work-life balance, the accent should not be on balance, the accent should be on life! We have the accent on the wrong syllable. What we need is a better, higher-quality life at work and a better, higher-quality life at home.”
Sher offers up a recipe for achieving this with a noticing practice:
“Noticing is not meditation. It is being in the moment all the time; being deeply aware of what you are doing; squeezing all you can out of life by being mindful of the little things that make life meaningful.”
The strength of noticing, is the power of being aware to what is happening in the present moment. It is the ability to be alert to such experiences as “I am getting stressed out” so that you can take action. Or, in the midst of a fast walk to a client meeting down the street, to be aware that “the sun is casting a beautiful shadow against that wall.” It means we are able to expand our awareness beyond the non-stop internal dialogue in our heads (yes, you aren’t crazy, we all have voices in our head) to what is happening around us and inside us.
This ability to notice can be built up with some simple practices. This week try this easy and pleasant noticing practice about enjoying a favourite hot beverage:
Brew up, or purchase, a delicious drink. As it’s winter this might be a latte, or cup of tea, or hot chocolate. Next, take this beverage to a place where you know you won’t be interrupted for a few minutes. Sit down and drink this beverage ever so slowly. Engage all your senses as you do so. Notice the warmth of the hot cup in your hands. Smell the aroma. Listen to the sounds around you. Take a sip, and taste the beverage and notice the physical sensation of this in your mouth, throat, and stomach.
Bring all your attention to these sensations so that for a moment your thoughts disappear and you are entirely swept up in the experience. Then let it go.
This simple noticing practice is a pleasant way to start developing your noticing muscles and to find some tranquility within the day. Enjoy!
(Thanks to Martha Beck for introducing me to her “Mindful Munching” exercise upon which this practice is based!)
(And thanks to Scott Beale with Laughing Squid laughingsquid.com for sharing the coffee photo under a Creative Commons license.)