The next time you notice you are rushing to get to your car to drive somewhere, decide to do it mindfully. Bring your focused attention to what you are doing – one moment at a time – getting your keys out, unlocking, and opening the door, getting in. Be aware of the body’s movement as you slip into your seat. Notice the hand putting the key into the ignition and turning the car on. Listen to the motor start up. Be aware of your breath for a moment or two. Time may seem to slow down, but it’s really that you are being more present and aware. It takes no more time to focus on what you are doing than to be caught up in the rush to what’s next. Actually, you may find there’s nowhere to hurry to when you practice being aware on the way. But please don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself! Awareness is a gift to yourself and others. Please take care.

Copyright © 2005 Nina Livingstone. All rights reserved.

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Try this the next time you are aware that you feel stressed and want to quiet down the inner chaos quickly. Walking, driving, standing still or sitting, quietly say while breathing in, "I am breathing in, and I am at peace." Say while breathing out, "I am breathing out, and I am at peace." Focus attention on what happens. If you become distracted, simply return your focus to your words and notice what's happening within. Repeat until you notice a shift, and are ready to stop. The cells of the body receive thought as instruction, and they are willing followers to whatever we think. Saying we are at peace allows the body to shift from feeling rushed around, to slowing down, so we can feel quieter inside. With the goal of maintaining balance in all things, use this practice with care, and let awareness be your guide. Sometimes this practice is helpful, and other times, it can be used to distract us from exploring mistaken beliefs that keep us rushing around. Remembering awareness is a gift to yourself and others.

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