It's 3:00 in the afternoon do you know where you are?
You might answer by saying at the office, meeting the school bus, at my kids after school activity, picking up some groceries, driving to a meeting.....
Good answers. That's where your actual body is
But that's not what I am asking. I am asking..
where are YOU?
Where is your mind? What are you thinking about? Are you on automatic, plowing through the day or do you notice space between the thoughts? Are you giving time and attention to the pause between activities?
Maybe you find yourself watching the clock wondering is it too early to put the kids to bed? Or are you lost in fantasy for a different life or day dreaming about the new person you met last week and hoping they call?
Let's take it another layer down. Into sensations and feelings...
Can you feel your body? Your breathe? Legs? Arms? Shoulders? Belly? Is there a distinction between the different parts of your body or does it just feel like one solid unit? What are you aware of right now in your energy body? Are you tired? Energized? What about your feelings? Avoiding anything? Frustrated? Happy? Content?
Are you aware of the multiple needs you might be having? Do you need a break? When was the last time you stood up? Stretched? Took a walk around the block? Perhaps some appreciation for your hard work and efforts? Which needs are getting met and which ones are on the back burner?
As I ask you these questions please don't make yourself wrong for not knowing or not being aware of the answers. That's not the point. This list of questions is here to give you some guidance into the kind of attention and the practice we want to cultivate as we bring consciouness to the actions of our day. But Darshana, you might be asking, why are you focusing specifically between 2:00 and 4:00 pm?
BECAUSE THOSE ARE THE MOST OFTEN TIMES I HEAR MY CLIENTS TELL ME...
I find myself during those hours looking through my desk drawer at the office for that little chocolate bar I stashed there last week.
Passing by my co-workers desk, ya know the one with the M&M machine.
Taking a stroll, only to find myself at the nearest coffee shop buying an afternoon scone or pastry. Looking through my kids lunch box for what they didn't eat when we stop by the playground. If I am home I open and close the cabinets and freezer about 40 times (and eat what's in there). I reach for the dark chocolate (thats on the OK list they say) but eat the whole bar. I pop popcorn, because it's low calorie, it doesnt count. But then I'm not satisfied so I eat a bowl, no a few bowls of cereal.
These are the hours of the day when I want to encourage you to start to ask the questions I wrote down above. Start to put your attention on THE WHOLE OF WHO YOU ARE and what might be happening beneath the surface. Check in. To simplfy it here are some questions to ask yourself..
- What sensations are you feeling in your body?
- What feelings are you navigating?
- What thoughts/ beliefs are you present to?
- Have you eaten a real meal recently?
This last question is very important.
Mindfulness helps us fine tune the quality of attention that we want to start to expand upon but it also has to with putting attention on the nuts and bolts of living. The quality of your food, where it comes from, how much sleep you get, etc... And on a pratical note its good to know that many women tend to get low blood sugar between 2:00 and 4:00pm. It's just natural biology at work. So in mid afternoon when you are turning every corner looking for something to eat remember to check in with the all the parts of yourself to find out what you are truly craving.
So next time I ask you...
It's 3:00pm do you know where you are? I look forward to hearing some interesting answers.