In this time of continuing volatility and uncertainty, it remains important for us to find ways to stay mindful, grounded, and centered. With the approach of the holiday season, which can bring its own set of stressors, many of us may be facing additional challenges that threaten to throw us off balance. Being unable to gather with friends and family and perhaps having to forfeit treasured holiday traditions may be especially difficult. How can we stay mindful and centered in the face of all of this?
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. It’s a place of acceptance and non-judgment of our current reality.
This is a significant challenge when our natural human tendency is to focus on the problems around us, become anxious, and react from a place of fear. Concerns about our happiness or security can easily dominate our thinking and we may find ourselves ruminating about how to stay in control or how to “fix” the situation.
The problem, of course, is that when we’re in a reactive state, we’re much less likely to be creative, adaptable, and resourceful. We typically see fewer options for positive action and are less capable of seeing possible solutions to problems. We only see the clouds but not their potential silver linings.
The trick, according to fellow coach, Bebe Hansen, is to remember that “It’s not about the cards you are dealt, it’s how you play them.” Starting with this simple shift in perspective we can slow down and take a breath, see things more objectively, and make choices from a foundation of strength, courage, compassion, and neutrality.
We can learn to respond versus react. How do we get there? It involves becoming more present.
According to Hansen, we can learn to use what seems to be coming at us from the outside as a catalyst for our own development. This means a practice of noticing where we are putting our attention and to remember we have a choice. Being mindful and fully present offers us the opportunity to inhabit an internal state that is more open, flexible, resilient, creative. We can cultivate silence, spaciousness, stillness and possibility inside of us, too. Actions that flow from this internal state have a different, more generative impact in our world than those that flow from contraction, judgement, rejection, or numbing.
Here are some questions Hansen offers to support being present:
- What am I choosing in this moment?
- How am I being asked to grow here?
- How might I shift my inner state to be a resource for myself, my loved ones, my colleagues and communities right now?
- How will I play the cards I’ve been dealt?