Tips with Trish: Be Present
I love being in college and independent but all of the other things that come with “adulting” are kind of overwhelming me. Isn’t this supposed to be the “best time of my life?” I am so busy and in need of some tips to help me slow down because I feel like I’m on auto pilot and can’t relax to enjoy much of anything.
Need to Slow Down
Isn’t it funny (or sad) how we look so forward to certain things in our life and the future arrives, we can’t really enjoy it? You, like many of us, are so busy thinking ahead that we have trouble enjoying the present. Being present in the moment is the only time there is literally no time at all. Neither past nor future since being fully present means having your attention and focus only on the task at hand or the things around you.
One of my favorite ways to be in the moment is by sitting in my office with my eyes closed for a few minutes during the day; just me, my senses and the space around me. If my window is open, I listen to the birds outside or very possibly the sounds of the construction workers attending to the wall between me and the AWC. I take in the smell of oils coming from the nearby Zen Den or even the café if it’s the day they are making brownies. Brownies sometimes allows my mind to reflect back on growing up with my mom in the kitchen. When I bring myself back I think about how the chair feels below me and if I have my shoes off, I touch the floor under my feet. If I get the chance, sometimes I’ll sneak outside for a few minutes around lunch. You may even see me sitting by the grotto near the Rock Bowl. I like to hear the sounds of the soccer players running across the field while feeling the warmth of sun on my face. This time is also perfect for me to meditate or say a quick prayer. I like to think about all of the other people before me that may have sat in the very same spot.
Being present takes skill and practice. In this fast paced society, just being mindful of what is going on inside your body and around you sometimes takes work. You have to be intentional about it but I think the benefits may surprise you. And if your head feels like it needs to be occupied after a few minutes of the quiet, try thinking of a few things that you are grateful for. It’s a great exercise in creating joy.
Remember last week’s article by Rose Gottschalk about breathing? If you missed it, check it out. She gives lots of good ideas on why it is important to make sure you stop and “just breathe”. Deep breathing gives needed oxygen to your brain and helps your heart from racing.
If you believe to have tried some of these tips but still struggle with being in the moment, consider interaction with at least one of the many great opportunities happening around campus. Duhawks Connect is a group that meets on Wednesdays during common time in the back of the CEL office in the ACC. We practice some mindfulness exercises before check in and accommodation of a space allowing people to connect. There are also meditations going on in the Interfaith Prayer Space on 5th floor at different times during the week and yoga through intramurals. Check out the Life at Loras App for the activities time and dates. You might also consider scheduling an Adoration which can bring some much needed peace during a chaotic week. If these don’t fit into your schedule, just take a walk outside on one of these perfect autumn days. Fall is a great time to practice being in the present moment.