How little time we spend in the present. The screens in our homes and in our pockets all work to keep our thoughts on other places and other people. Distraction has a way of making us blind to our blessings, to our happiness.
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh wrote,
”Mindfulness helps you go home to the present. And every time you go there and recognize a condition of happiness that you have, happiness comes.”
How do we find our way back to the happiness of the present moment?
1) Make “presence” a family value. Insist on dinners together and keep them unplugged and screen-free. Taste your food. Talk about the day. Listen to one another. Grow comfortable with awkward silences.
Consider detoxing from screens for a whole Saturday or even a whole weekend. Be fully present to the people and events in your life.
2) Set aside time to sit quietly near the Christmas tree lights or menorah. Bask in the glow of your surroundings.
3) Bundle up after dark and walk through your neighborhood looking at holiday lights. Take it slow. Listen to your footsteps on the sidewalk, the sounds of traffic, dogs barking. Linger.
4) Give yourself a holiday from shopping. Materialism, and its sword, advertising, are the cold adversaries of mindfulness. They create in us a sense of lack. This lack propels us to focus on material fulfillment, a future-oriented value, and spurs us towards constant activity and consumption.
The EmpowHer article, Compulsive Shopping – The Closeted Addiction, gives insight into the mind-body relationship of excessive shopping and some tools to help curb the compulsion.
5) Head out the door for a day sledding, snow shoeing or hiking with the extra time and money you might otherwise have spent shopping.