Thoughts on Traveling in the Age of Cell PhonesAugust 5, 2023
Lately, in my conversations, I’ve found a recurring theme: individuals waking to a sense of unease, their minds clouded with relentless thoughts: “I wake up anxious. I have so much on my mind. I feel worried. I was never like this.” It’s a departure from their more peaceful mornings. And what happens? These stresses find a welcome host in our bodies. So, something that didn’t used to ache now hurts. Or our minds are busy thinking of something in the future or rehashing something in the past. When we delve deeper, seeking understanding, a pattern becomes clear. There’s an increasing sensitivity to one’s vulnerability, often tied to the physical realities of aging. Life, with all its unpredictability, moves forward, yet sometimes we might overlook the emotional toll of events like friends falling ill or loved ones passing away. These experiences, if not examined (by oneself or with the aid of a professional), often find their way into our bodies and minds, expressing themselves as discomfort or distraction.
Now, here’s a thought: What if what we often term as “anxiety” is just a heightened sense of awareness? What if, instead of a sign that something’s amiss, it’s a nudge, urging us to pay attention? By seeing it this way, we’re not pushing away or resisting an emotion but rather inviting it in, hoping to understand its origins and messages.
It’s essential for all of us to remember that feelings of anxiety, those occasional moments of uncertainty, are a part of being human. So instead of labeling ourselves as ‘anxious,’ what if we saw it as being more in tune, more aware? This shift, this new perspective, can offer a path to understanding, compassion, and personal growth.
Shifting into Fall
As summer’s vibrant colors turn to the golden colors of autumn, we too can align with this shift, experiencing a metamorphosis of our own. It isn’t just the world around us that is transforming. Our inner selves can also “synch” with the rhythms of the change in seasons. Regardless of our stage in life, the turn to fall provides a fresh backdrop for personal growth and renewed vitality. With an understanding of the transient nature of time, we can welcome the unique moments that fall generously offers. This transition, much like many in life, can be approached with grace, mindfulness, and an appreciation for the beauty inherent in change.
Adjusting to fall can require both a mental and emotional shift. Here are some tips to help in the process:
Mindful Moments: Dedicate time each day to be present. Whether it’s observing the changing leaves or sipping a warm beverage, create time to become immersed in the experience.
Reflect and Set New Intentions: As days grow shorter, use the longer evenings for introspection. Consider journaling or participate in a meditative practice to set intentions for fall and the upcoming winter.
Connect with Nature: Engage with the outdoors, whether by taking a simple walk or enjoying an afternoon of apple picking. Let nature be the guide for grounding and restoration.
Acknowledge Feelings: fall can evoke a range of emotions, from nostalgia to melancholy. It’s important to recognize these feelings. Talk about them, write them down, or simply sit with them. Be aware that losses are often tied to seasons. Perhaps someone close to you may have died or you moved, or you went through a difficult time at this time of year in the past.
Learn Something New: With the back-to-school season in full swing, embrace the spirit of learning. Take up a new hobby, attend a workshop, or read a book on an unfamiliar topic. Stimulating the mind can counteract the slowing down of physical activities during the colder months.
Mindfulness at Sunrise
As fall ushers in, we can anchor ourselves in the season’s rhythm. Before daily tasks consume us, take a few moments by a window, or outdoors. Breathe in the crisp air, listen to the subtle sounds of nature transitioning and let the first rays of sunlight warm our closed eyes.
Such a practice need not be longer than ten minutes, but its influence can be transformative. We are reminded of life’s transient beauty and the significance of being present and aware. This special time can be an anchor that not only connects us to the season’s essence but also resets our inner balance amidst the ever-present changes.