A few months ago the store we buy our groceries from stopped selling the bread we liked. I know some of you think, “oh well, bread is bread.” Some of you understand our pain. Anyway, after some trial and error we found a loaf we could tolerate, but not love. A week ago my husband stopped to pick up a loaf on his way home from work. Arriving at home he placed the bread on the counter and announced with a smile that while he was buying this bread he noticed that the store has our favorite bread again. I looked at the bread on the counter and then at him. I looked at the bread and then at him. Then again the bread – him. The bread – him. “What?, he says. “But yet you bought this bread?” The smile drains from his face as he realizes his mistake.
The point of telling you this story is to talk about the mistakes big and small that we make because we are acting out of habit and seem unable to shift gears. I believe my hubby would have bought the good bread if he had slowed his roll long enough to think for just one moment. It is true what all the articles out there now are telling us about mindfulness. We need to slow down and be present. Paying attention to what is going on around us. Listening to what is being said. What is our hurry anyway? Let us rush now to more stress. Making mistakes means correcting mistakes, which means loss of time and money. This will also increase our stress levels.
How about the toll on relationships from inattention? Slow down listen to what is being said. I don’t know how many times people have been mad at me for things I said; that I never said. Take time to think about how others may be feeling. Giving thought to what might be the best course to take before jumping into action. Thoughts toward consequences are always important. All that fighting and arguing over what things and feelings that did not receive the attention needed. Listen to the people you care about. No, put down the phone, look at them, and listen. It is important to them and you. Be present with loved ones.
How do you slow your roll? How can you be more present and mindful? Put down the technology when you’re with others. In fact, put it down for a few minutes every day when alone to have time to think for yourself without the input and opinions of others. Take a deep breath before you answer a phone. Take a couple of deep breaths before you answer a text. Look at things that are in real world, not on a screen. Take a moment to yourself before you enter work, school, the store. Just to breath, think, prepare, listen to the last of that song, or feel the sun on your face. You don’t have to jump and run the minute the car stops. Give yourself time to just be. Literally stop and smell the roses. Watch a little girl dance down an aisle at Walmart with the new Barbie she is getting. Check out the clouds in the sky. Play with your cat. Sing along with the radio. Embrace joy.
Stop acting out of hurried habit. Take a time out to celebrate that your favorite bread has returned to the store. Buy it. Make toast with it and spread on your favorite jam. Then dance in the kitchen. Life isn’t a race. It is a dance!