All work and no play supposedly makes for a dull person..but what if you love your job and it is also your play? Is it still wrong for it to make up the majority of your life? I’m beginning to feel that the answer may be yes!!
If you chat to somebody at the end of their life about their memories, the chance of them discussing their time spent at work is very low. People remember experiences, people, often the struggles and the lessons they learnt as well as the good times and the joys of children. How often do you think you will hear someone wish they had worked more and played less. What truly makes you happy?
I was mopping the floor earlier and thinking how much I enjoy it! Strange maybe to some, but the gentle experience of mopping and cleaning can be an experience to enjoy. However rushing it as a job, to tick of a ‘to do’ list somehow takes the fun out of experiencing the moment. As with gardening; quietly pottering without rushing allows the experience to be more complete. Letting my senses open to the sounds of nature, the touch of the plants, the feel of the air on my skin. Being mindful is discouraged by rushing and doing ‘jobs’ through the day. Instead just allowing the day to unfold. Experiencing every task as a complete experience in itself, allows us to enjoy the otherwise mundane moments in our day.
Mindfulness is being proven to encourage happiness and help to decrease the experience and the recurrence of depressive symptoms. Is this because it encourages us to enjoy the journey of our lives? Opening our inner world to touch the outer world we are moving through. There is something very isolating about rushing through life without being touched by the world around us; making our journey about our destination and forgetting to notice the scenery we pass by. When we become overly focused on a goal, absorbed in getting somewhere or something we can forget to enjoy the challenge of achievement. It has been said to me by some outwardly very successful people that the fun wasn’t in achieving the success, but in striving for it. That finally achieving that which they’d worked so hard for, be it the fast car or the big house, was somehow empty. Let us less outwardly successful people learn from this. That however large or small our goals, that the fun is often in the challenge of getting there and not in the achievement itself.
For me, I am trying to schedule in more time to just potter. Days where I have no schedule apart from to enjoy my practice, wander down the river with my dog and notice. I think that is the important lesson for me..to remember to notice! To allow my senses to become more sensitized to smells, to touch, to sound or just to being open to the world I move through every day. During meditation I often feel that the birds start to sing or the breeze to touch me. Whereas it’s more likely that without thoughts and actions constantly intruding on my senses, they are more able to open to the experience of the world around me. Noticing the birdsong or the smell of grass on the breeze that day-to-day business forgets.
Try to, just for a week, allow your self a few minutes every day to just sit and notice the world around you. To relax your control on your senses and experience and opening, a letting go of the self control. A sense of just being in the moment with what ever arises.