“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~Albert Einstein.
All of us want to slow down time, to stop the ticking clock.
One of the reasons I was inspired to practice mindfulness is that I wanted to start appreciating and noticing the small, simple moments of life again.
I felt time racing by. I was so busy, I often felt absent from my own life. Life had sped up and I wanted it to slow down. It’s so easy to rush from point A to point B, not noticing all of the steps it takes to get to the end point.
33 minutes into a 1 hour flight.
Mixing the butter and eggs together before adding the remaining ingredients.
15 minutes on the bus or train commuting to work.
Writing 10 pages of a 300 page book.
Those 20 minutes when dinner is heating up in the oven.
Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”
We often reside in the past or the future, but hardly ever the present. It’s easy to forget to notice the small, little moments that happen so quickly every day.
While it’s not possible to slow down time, when we are present and aware of the small passing moments it can often feel like time is expanding. We are awake to more of the moments in our lives, and so it feels like we have more of them.
Here are 3 ways I have learned to appreciate the small, mundane moments:
1) Make Mindful Moments a Ritual Throughout the Day: To bring more awareness to the present moment, take mindful moment breaks throughout the day. For example, you could do this while making breakfast or lunch for the day, driving in the car, or waiting in line at the coffee shop. I also like to take a mindful moment during transition times in my day such as arriving at work, or arriving home.
To practice a mindful moment follow these simple steps:
Breath in for 5 seconds.
Hold the breath for 5 seconds.
Breathe out for 5 seconds.
Hold the breath for 5 seconds.
Take note of the present moment, look around you and really notice your surroundings.
2) Celebrate the Tiny Joys in Life: Life is composed of tiny joys and victories that lead us to exactly where we want to be.
Take time to reflect, or to write down in a journal, all of the small things that happened to you today that you appreciated and felt gratitude towards.
The items can be relatively small in importance (e.g., “My co-worker complimented me on my presentation at work”) or relatively large (e.g., “I earned a big promotion”).
What we focus on grows, so take notice of the simple joys and victories and notice how more of these types of moments flourish in your life.
3) Bring Meaning into the Mundane: We spend most of our time in ‘neutral’ moments, that are not necessarily good or bad. We all have a tendency to only notice very good or very bad things. Often it takes a great loss in our life to slow down and take notice. Because so much of our life is spent in these normal, every-day moments we hardly notice them passing by.
We want to savor the beauty and meaning of life, but much of the ‘stuff’ that fills our days doesn’t feel very beautiful or meaningful.
The way to make the mundane meaningful, is to bring feelings of gratitude and meaning into the land of deadlines, traffic and laundry.
The warmth of the towels as you grab them out of the dryer. The dance of the leaves in the wind as you walk to the car. The laugh of a friend as you wait in line for a movie ticket.
The secret to making the mundane meaningful, is simply to find the beauty and sacredness in the simple things.
“The significance is hiding in the insignificant. Appreciate everything.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
By being more mindful of the small moments, my life is richer, more intentional and moves at a slower pace. I find that I’m less likely to want to fast-forward to something different or better down the road.
This moment is all that we have. It is only in the present moment that our lives are actually happening. Tune into the simple moments and feel time expand.