I love going for walks in my neighborhood. Although, right now, it is the middle of summer (in Texas), so I do try to get out earlier so I'm not dealing too much with the summer heat. BUT my walks are very important to me for several reasons. For one, it IS exercise! Yay! I enjoy being active, even if it's just a short time to get my legs moving. I also know it's important to get out into nature; it's a refreshment that I know I truly enjoy. But one of the most recent reasons I've wanted to go on my walk is to practice Staying Present.
When I first started walking in this neighborhood (which was just last year after a major move), I was so taken with the tree-lined streets, that I was fully absorbed whenever I would go out. And any nature-based action was just icing on the cake. Such as listening to and recording my local mocking birds with their delightful song, sometimes several of them going at the same time!
I would also be taken with the appearance of any mocking birds, whether directly on homes, on fences, on mailboxes or anywhere else they might be perched. Plus squirrels would often end up in the mix, especially when one would check me out and pose for pictures! Yes, all of these fun nature friends would keep me occupied while getting my footsteps in.
But in the past couple of weeks, I have noticed myself getting lost in thought, staying in my head, instead of being fully present with what was going on around me. So I decided to really pay attention to why I might be getting distracted from my surroundings. I suppose I could just be getting used to where I go, so I'm not paying as much attention.
I often find myself thinking too hard about whatever project I might be working on, or maybe a conversation I had with someone, or what my next blog post would be about! Ha! (In other words, I'm sometimes thinking about YOU, Dear Reader!)
What is one to do about Staying Present?
I'm making it a point to notice when I drift off into my head and Get back to center after I've clarified whatever point I was trying to make or problem I was trying to solve and move on to my surroundings once more.
I think it's all about awareness. Most of us don't even realize when we are lost in thought or when we're not really paying attention to what's going on around us. It's as if we're on auto-pilot. Not exactly fun and certainly not Present!
It also helps to Look Up...into the trees, listening for bird song and being very deliberate about where I put my attention. I also sometimes think about my feet and the process of walking itself (something else we usually do on auto-pilot).
Where we focus can make all the difference in helping us Stay Present.
Describe the last activity you did on auto-pilot. How did you feel about that task afterwards?
Now describe the last activity you did when you were fully present? What do you remember about what you did and how you felt as you engaged in this activity? Would you do it again? Did you find it more enjoyable than the task you did on auto-pilot? Why do you think you focused more on the latter activity as opposed to the first activity? How best do you Stay Present?
Art Journaling Prompt:
What color is helping you stay present right now? Use it in an art journal spread and listen to what that color says to you. What image is helping you stay present right now? Use that image as a focal point in this art journal spread and determine what that image is saying to you right now. Use that message and either cut out letters to spell it out or stamp with with alpha stamps. Or doodle it with markers and pens.
You can also use the words, Stay Present or Staying Present, and use that as your focal point.
Stay Focused and Pay Close Attention to what helps you Stay Present. And Honor it in your life in whatever way keeps you centered and aligned with Who You Are.
@Copyright 2015 By Dawn Herring
@Copyright 2015 Photo Images By Dawn Herring
@Copyright 2015 Doodle Header Image by Dawn Herring
Dawn engages in many roles: As Writer/Blogger and Artist/Creative and Founder of Refresh with Dawn Herring: Where Art and JOY Align, She enjoys sharing from her vast experience as award-winning, life-long artist and leader in the field of written journaling, offering encouragement and proven tips to other journal keepers. Dawn's focus is on written journal keeping, artistic expression and finding your Creative Voice, and positive change that leads personal empowerment, encouraging you to leave your authentic and positive mark in the world. Dawn is a Commercial artist, hand letterer/illustrator and writer/blogger and enjoys sharing insights, humor, and encouragement as she shares from her life experiences as a woman, wife, mother of two grown daughters and as a Grandparent to a special needs grandson. She enjoys keeping a journal and reading spiritual texts to help keep the light on. May JOY Align with Your Creative Heart.