Happiness Tool: Mindfulness

My 3 year old son (Ari) and I were heading to daycare the other day – the same exact route we always go.

Yep. Every day, we walk down the same street to get there.

I like to talk with him, as we walk – always pointing out things to notice.me and ari 2013 sept

“Look at that poodle in a bright pink coat!”

“The air feels a little wet – like it could rain.”

“That woman we just passed smells like flowery perfume.”

So the other day it occurred to me to point out something entirely new to Ari. I pointed out how even though we always go the same exact path to daycare daily, things are always different – in some way – on this supposedly exact same path.

The people walking down the street alongside us are different people. The cars we’re passing are different cars and, thereby, lots of different colors. The weather in the air has a different temperature – and even a different smell sometimes. Our clothes are different. The conversation we’re having is different.

The possibilities in the day ahead of us are different.

I told Ari we should both be aware of what is different each day – because each day holds something new to see, something new to hear, something new to learn, something new to experience.

And it’s true.

All of this kinda reminds me of a Paulo Cuelho quote: “You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each daKaren Salmansohn y brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.”

It also kinda reminds me of what Nobel Prize winning scientist Daniel Kahneman shares. Kahenman says that we all experience about 20,000 individual “moments” in a day. According to Kahneman, each of these individual “moments” lasts but a mere few seconds.

When you’re fully, mindfully present ( instead of being caught up with regrets about the past or worries about the future ) you’re able to appreciate life’s beautiful “now time” moments – and thereby our life doesn’t become one big “blur time.”

I’m a believer that part of the reason we love music and art is because they are opportunities to live in “now time” – not “blur time.” When we’re listing to a song we love – or gazing steadfast at a painting which entrances us – we’re fully present in a “still frame” moment – mindfully in “now time.” The same thing goes for why we doubly enjoy a delicious meal. Sure, yummy food is fun to eat. But part of why it’s fun is because we’re stopped in time when we savor an awesome taste sensation!

I also believe that “now time” is how you create a MEMORY! When you’re living mindfully in the moment you’re “freeze framing” a moment in time – and this is what creates a MEMORY! It then makes sense that the less memories you have during specific times in your life, the more likely it’s because you were speed-forwarding through each moment – not living in “now time.” Likewise, the more memories you have from specific times in your life, it’s because these were precious times – when you were deeply aware of the miracles of your life – and living fully and consciously.

YOUR ASSIGNMENT: ShaKaren Salmansohnre with your family this idea of committing to noticing the details in a day – and to live more in “now time.” Decide each of you will now choose to keep your eyes open for what makes a “new today” different unto itself from any other day – and share it with each other.  There is that famous game of “I Spy”- which one usually plays with toddlers. Well, guess what? “I Spy” is a fun game to play with all family members. Howard, Ari and I all love to point out to one another all the interesting people and things we see as we walk down the street together. It is a fun game to point out the details we notice.  I promise that if you do this regularly within your family, you will train your brain to live more in the now – focused on the beauty around you – instead of obsessing about the past or fearing the future! As a result, you will wind up experiencing more daily happiness. After all, if you want to love your life more – you can begin by living and loving more of it – by living and loving more of those teeny-tiny, awesome moments in a day!

I’d love to hear your insights on the comment section below! What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read this inspirational poster. Share your personal story or a personal happiness tool! I LOVE it when you share – because I love to find out about my community! Plus, many thousands of peeps read these inspirational posters – so, what you share could be a helpful inspiration for someone else! xo Karen

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  • radhika

    thanks Karen for this wonderful exercise. But you know it’s not always possible when each day every thing is different our mood to is different… moreover we forget to live in now time..else we live in future or in past…

    • notsalmon

      Yes Radhika, it is hard that’s why we must stay mindful.

  • Elza

    Karen, great article! This is a new day and I’m reading a new article written by a lady that impresses me so much. First of all, Ari is so lucky to have you as his mom. Karen, I love the fact that you spread joy and I thank you for it. I enjoy the beauty of nature. I notice the beautiful flowers, beautiful trees, the sky looks so beautiful sometimes, even though I work hard, I don’t miss seeing the beautiful scenery around me. One day I opened my front door to go to work and I saw an adorable little boy, about a year old, that was sitting on a dear statue I have in my front yard. The dear was sitting on the grass and this adorable boy was sitting on it. I couldn’t help it, I asked his dad, if I can take a picture. Seeing that, first thing in the morning, made my day. I even thanked the guy for this nice surprise in the morning. To me it was such a pretty thing to see. I enjoy life with all its challenges. I even think I wish I didn’t need to sleep. I wish my body didn’t need to rest. Honestly, people like you who spread joy and people that inspire and motivate, help me a lot. Through experience, I believe God sometimes makes what we think is impossible, possible. I believe that every difficult time is for a good reason, something good comes out afterwards or you grow stronger and better. Let us all appreciate every moment of our lives. All the best to you, Karen. Thank you!

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