My feet hit the floor and my mind is off and running. I mentally run through my day. I want to accomplish this and my to do list says this. I quickly shower, get dressed, feed the cat and climb the stairs to my office to have some time with God and get some writing done before breakfast with my husband.
My day continues in this stream of consciousness type of flow. Fix breakfast, remember to add a fruit and add a veggie (we are on a fruit and veggie kick right now:-) plan the day with my husband, back to the office for a call with my webmaster, work on my new website which is a challenge in and of itself, then down to fix lunch and grab a quick rest. How did I get to be that person who needs a rest in the middle of the day like my grandma? Then back to the office to prepare for a meeting, off to my meeting, have a great conversation, to the grocery store with my husband, get home, get the groceries unloaded and I am EXHAUSTED. How does that happen?
In this journey to freedom, peace and joy, old habits die hard. The day I described has those old habits of running, running, running. I am in a season of transition and change, I realize takes time. I feel so much better from my depression days and yet I am not paying attention to my body and the new rhythm that God is designing for me.
Attention, Curt Thompson writes in Anatomy of the Soul, is like the ignition key of the brain. What you pay attention to is worth paying attention to – especially what the brain is filtering all the many sensations and stimuli coming at you at once. “The way we attend to elements of our daily experiences wires our brains in certain patterns and the way we attend to others’ minds influences the wiring of their brains as well. Beyond this, the way we attend to various elements of our mind’s activity also greatly influences our relationship with God.” So how much was I not paying attention yesterday?
As Paul writes in Romans 7:15 “I am not able to do the things I want and yet I do the things I despise.” Yep, that’s the way days go sometimes. At the end of the day, I know I didn’t quite bring God into my day like I could. In change terms, I go from being unconsciously incompetent, to consciously incompetent and I don’t like it!
Ways to Pay Attention
Thank goodness, God doesn’t leave me here. He says I have His Spirit within me, when I choose to pay attention to Him. I need to consciously practice accessing His beautiful Spirit within me and pay attention to how I can live in more freedom and grace, hopefully without the pain and fatigue. I can change my days by consciously paying attention to:
- Breathing – simply slowing and paying attention to my breath will help me pay attention to how my body is feeling. I can take several deep breathes at my computer, count my breathing while focusing only on my breathing (harder than you think.) and even poke my head outside to get a few breathes of fresh, cold Wisconsin air. BRR! 15 below today!
- Centering – remembering joy or whatever fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) you want to focus upon. Take a few minutes to close your eyes and take a few deep breathes. Now imagine your favorite image of joy, for example. Listen for the sights, sounds, feelings of you in that place of joy. See all the details in your mind’s eye. Now, when finished, write the word JOY on a reminder card so that you can revisit your place of JOY whenever you need to take a mind break and center yourself. You can do this for all the fruit of the spirit words and rotate them for each day of the week.
- Practicing the Presence of God– I know this one, but like Paul, I don’t do it. Practicing the Presence is looking for God in the little moments of the day. noticing where He shows up. As I reflect on yesterday, I noticed He gave me quiet moments before my meeting to enjoy the fireplace at the coffee shop and think about Him. He gave me time chatting with my friend online and she encouraged my heart. My cat on my lap is God’s little creature of love. I am grateful for these moments that I realize this morning, yet didn’t take the time yesterday to notice or even last night. Practicing the Presence is paying attention in the moment and “Giving thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for me in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:18. I think paying attention to what I am paying attention to will help me and you with living more intentionally.
How will you pay attention?
Which of the above practices will you start with to pay attention to what you pay attention to? Today will be my day to practice paying more attention throughout the day and see if I am less tired by the end of the day. I know God will give me the strength to pay attention to Him when I ask. What will be your journey today? Post on NancyBoothCoaching Facebook page and let me know how your day went or in the comments below. We are on this journey together.
Nancy Booth is a certified life coach and certified brain-based coach. She loves creating safe spaces for women going through life’s transitions to discover and support their visions for health and well-being in an overwhelming world, explore possibilities for next steps and find hope. She writes about taming the overwhelm and reducing stress, looking for ways to motivate, energize and inspire you! You can sign up to receive her weekly blog or contact her to find out ways you can begin to shed overwhelm and stress. It’s time to explore possibilities of new relationships, better life pacing and gain hope and peace.