4 Ideas for Being Fully Present—and a 30-Day Mindfulness Challenge

You would think since I live on an amazingly beautiful farm that my every minute is filled with awe at the place. A lot of time, yes, I look around and say, “Wow!”

Sun setting over the Pacific.

But my reality is like yours. I am busy from sunrise to past sunset.

The chickens need to be let out of the coop. The chickens’ eggs need collecting, and the squirrels chased away. The chickens need to be fed.

The pig needs food. The pig has broken his water spout, and the pen has flooded. The pen needs mucking out and new straw laid down.

Close-up of a pig's snout at a fence.
Photo: Abigail Rohde.

The persimmons are ripe and need to be harvested. The dogs need food. The trees need watering and pruning. The garden is sprouting weeds and needs to be planted with the cool weather crops.

In between all this, I’m trying to write, build a business, work on paying projects, and so forth.

But I don’t need to say more, because this is how YOUR days go—just with different details.

We are busy from waking to sleeping. It’s hard to find time to be still. It’s hard to look with awe upon our days.

It’s hard to be awake to the magnificence of life when we are running, running, running. Click To Tweet

 So I’ve set a little challenge for myself–and you.

For 30 days, I intend to watch the sun rise and the sun set. I intend to be fully present during those few minutes. I intend to shut off my internal lists and notice as much as I can.

I started today. I was surprised just how long it takes the sun to actually rise! I wasn’t doing. I wasn’t accomplishing. I was simply being. By the time the sun crested the mountain, I felt as if I’d had a long, restorative vacation.

TRY THIS: Set a 30-day “awake to your day” mindfulness challenge. Do anything that puts you in a position of awareness. It can be something that frames your day, the way watching the sunrise and sunset does. It can be a single thing in the day or something you stop to do throughout the day.

The point is to commit to one activity that involves being aware of what you’re seeing, hearing, and feeling. And to commit to this same activity for five or more minutes, every day, at least once a day, for 30 days.

Your activity (or non-activity, more accurately) needs to be attached to a specific thing rather than just saying you’ll be mindful 5 minutes a day. DO something that will allow you to BE STILL and yet ALERT to what is happening.

Here are three other ideas besides watching the sun rise and set:

·     Make a cup of tea or coffee. Sit outside or look out the window (phone off!) while you drink it.

·     Take a short walk at the same time of day. Notice as much as you can about what you see. Notice how it changes from morning to night and through the month.

·     Listen to some classical music. Listen to the same symphony for 30 days. Hear nuances, find patterns, and let the music wash over you.

Don’t try to accomplish anything. Fully give yourself the time. Practice being fully awake. Do me a favor and tell me how it goes!

“Today is a gift. Today is all I have. I be fully awake in today.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita Click To Tweet

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Marcy McDonald’s goal is to change lives. Her unique neuroscience-based program uses UnBlocks™ to crack the code on your emotional hard wiring so you can conquer the emotional jungle and live more happily–starting today.

The Happiness Builder Program is a guide to what she calls “Practical Mindfulness”—practical ways to bring happiness into your daily life.


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