Do you ever find your mind wandering when what you really want is to be present?

Maybe your kids are talking about their latest Lego creations or the book they’re reading. Or your partner is sharing about the latest shed renovation or a challenge at work. Or you’re at a meeting at work or listening to a colleague’s presentation. Or perhaps, you’re taking some coveted “you time;” you really to be relaxing, but you just can’t stop thinking about work.

If you’re like most people I know, you want more than anything to savor the time you have with your loved ones, show up fully to the work you do, and just enjoy the peace of a quiet mind

But your thoughts keep getting in the way.

It can be so hard to quiet the mind and stay present, especially in the moments we most wish we could enjoy.

The ability to be present is like a muscle, and we need to practice to keep it strong.

The good news is that there are many powerful practices to help you learn to become more present. Seated meditation, walks in nature, dancing, exercise, cooking. For, me it’s writing.

Dumping my thoughts onto the paper allows me to empty my mind and attend to whatever it is that is arising. My commitment to writing helps me to be more present as a mom and a partner and a person. Writing helps me get clear in my head and my heart. It’s how I stay in alignment with what is best for me and that path that allows me to be of greatest service.

By writing your thoughts down on paper, you place the thoughts into a container that you can come back to later.

When you write them down, your thoughts can stop vying for your attention, and you can return to being present to whatever is most important at the moment. Writing can help you expose thought patterns that keep surfacing over and over again, step outside the box, and choose a story that helps you show up fully in the present moment.

Journaling is one of the foundational practices I share with my clients, and it’s transformative. Aided by their writing practice, my clients gain the creative energy to stay focused on what’s most important with much more enthusiasm and energy, and this energy propels them forward towards reaching their goals.

I invite you to try this right now—

  • Write on the top of your paper, “What thoughts in me want to express themselves right now?
  • Then, set the alarm for five minutes, and… go!
  • Write whatever comes up, even if it seems silly or hard to hear, even if it’s a to-do list or a grocery list, and even if it’s just, “I don’t know what to write.” Just be curious about whatever thoughts are coming up for you.
  • After the alarm goes off, feel free to keep writing or to stop.
  • When you finally stop, take a moment to notice how you feel in your body. You may feel relief at getting your thoughts down on paper.

You may feel sad or anxious or frustrated— this is common when you just scratch the surface of your thoughts but need more time to delve deeper. You may feel numb, which is sometimes an indicator that you need more space and time to listen to yourself. And, you may feel joy and gratitude for taking time to be present with yourself.

If you feel inspired to do so, I encourage you to make journaling a regular part of your life.

Schedule a time in your calendar when you’ll free-write, even if it’s just for five minutes, and set an alarm to remind yourself.

You can also take a moment to write before you head into an activity where you know you’ll want to be fully present. For example, I often invite participants to take one minute to write down anything that’s on their minds before I start teaching a workshop. You can do this before your dinner with your partner or yoga class or reading to your kids at night. Like me, you even might find yourself carrying a pad of paper everywhere you go so that if a thought arises, you can capture it on paper and return your attention to the present moment.

If you know someone who wants so much to be present and could use some time for themselves, please forward this email on to them. They will be grateful you did!

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