Today's verse: Psalm 46:10
"Be still and know that I am God!"
What and If, two small common words, put them together and they form an overwhelming question, What if? A question that everyone has asked themselves, perhaps many times, throughout their lives. This question can cause regrets; "What if I had spent more time with them?", "What if I thought more before I did that?" This question can bring hope; "What if I start doing things differently?", "What if I let go of my fear?". This question can wrap us up in a cocoon of fear and anxiety; "What if they don't like me?", "What if they leave me?" What if......you can fill in this sentence with almost anything and the results can be mind boggling.
When I think of how a situation might be better, or when I take time to look at experiences from different angles, I picture a perfect world in my mind and it is a good place. More often, when I ruminate over something that has happened or worry and anticipate what might happen, my mind is not a good place to be in. It frustrates me when people say, "Oh, well" or "get over it." It is easy to say, but hard to do. I want to reply, "How do I accomplish that?"
I find that being present, really present, in the moment, stops me from looking back at regrets or looking forward in anxious anticipation.
Marian A. Smith, a clinical counselor and teacher of mindful living shares these 10 tips towards being mindful:
Take a couple of minutes to notice your breathing. Sense the flow of the breath, the rise and fall of your belly
Notice what you are doing as you are doing it and tune into your senses. When you are eating, notice the color, texture and taste of the food.
When you are walking, tune into how your weight shifts and the sensations in the bottom of your feet. Focus less on where you are headed.
Don’t feel that you need to fill up all your time with doing. Take some time to simply be.
When your mind wanders to thinking, gently bring it back to your breath.
Recognize that thoughts are simply thoughts; you don’t need to believe them or react to them.
Practice listening without making judgments.
Notice where you tend to zone out (e.g., driving, emailing or texting, web surfing, feeding the dog, doing dishes, brushing teeth, etc.). Practice bringing more awareness to that activity.
Spend time in nature.
Notice how the mind likes to constantly judge. Don’t take it seriously. It’s not who you are.
Number 10 is one that hits home with me. This is the one that I am really trying to work on and overcome.
I also need to remember that I am not alone in this space, that God is right there beside me in the stillness of the moment and in the grips of the "What if's?" is my life.