How often are you distracted, caught up in what might have been or the what-ifs?
“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment” (Oprah Winfrey). But, we are so caught up being ‘busy’ that it’s like we overlook the idea of having space and time to just ‘be’. I often fall into this trap, as do many people I talk to, needing to continually tick things off the list. I pride myself so much on being organised that I started to realise it gave me an excuse not to be in the moment. But the beauty of being in the moment is you open up to new ideas and thoughts and find answers that, when your mind is busy, seem to evade you.
Have you ever noticed, though, that with children it’s different? In the classroom I would observe that my students could be in the moment so effortlessly. Their heads were where their hands were the majority of the time. They have a refreshing view to the world, naturally focusing on being in the moment rather than anywhere else. To be honest, it was always easier when they were engaged or enjoyed the task, but when they weren’t, it wasn’t necessarily because of worry or anxiety. Sometimes it was just because their friend was more interesting in that moment!
Often, we feel this when we play sports. We don’t get distracted or worried about what has happened and what might be. We are in the moment, focused on shooting that goal, hitting the ball or passing it to the right player. We are so engaged in that specific task, at that moment, that it’s like nothing else exists. I guess that’s why the idea to ‘keep your mind where your hands are’ is there. Imagine if you were playing netball, about to take a shot and thinking about what your brother said to you yesterday that had really upset you. You’d lose your focus and miss that shot for sure.
There are other ways we can get this same feeling outside of a sporting field. We do mindful colouring in school; the students and I always enjoyed it. You focus on the picture and how you want to colour it so that you can’t help but be in the moment. I still do colouring. When I need to actively switch my mind off and am struggling to find that space and quiet, I just colour. And it is in that moment that I know I am just ‘being’.
There are so many examples of when and how we can be in the moment. But the main thing to remember is to focus on putting your mind where your hands are. It seems to be the trick that keeps you focused on that moment and in the present.
Sapna Sachdeva 2018