At what stage in your sacred life did you switch from a human being to a human doing? When did you lose the ability to find joy in the simplest present moment?

Childhood seems like such a brief chapter in our entire life story, and then we rush through our adult years too often without any great sense of awareness. We live in an age where we are constantly distracted by demands, future plans and the A-to-Z of ifs, buts and maybes. When did you last pause and take a conscious breath in the present moment? When did you last see the wonder of Fibonacci sequence in nature, taste the layered flavors of a melting piece of chocolate on the tongue, smell something that instantly triggers a long-forgotten moment, or hear the synchronicity of a word or song that provides the answer to what you have been seeking?

Sadly, we tend to rise each morning and instantly slip into a default setting of habitual practices, with all of our previously positive intentions forgotten during our slumber. Naturally, through a fear of the unknown, we switch between worrying about the future versus the desire for answers right now with instant gratification. However, while we want solutions right now, we fail to be in the now — the state of being in the present moment.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 50 years, you would have heard of the term mindfulness. Mindfulness is all about one’s ability to focus and have heightened awareness in the present moment. It is achieving the calm mental state of acknowledging and accepting without judgment, one’s senses, feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations as a therapeutic way of life. There is no comparison to what has passed, neither are there any expectations of how this may relate to the future. Mindfulness is the very essence of the here and now. Put in simpler terms, you can only be where you are at.

There will be people for whom mindfulness does not resonate with, and I understand this. I don’t know about you, but my mind can be so busy with past, present, future and any other linear time possible, mindfulness can be easier said than actually done, especially on our busier or more challenging days. On these more demanding days, it is hard to be mindful, not mind full, so I propose a new approach: being heartful, the art of heartfulness.

While the busy monkey mind chatters away in its attempt to distract you from all things calm and collective, our heart gently beats to the sound of its own song. Our heart, this genius fist-sized bundle of myogenic power, beats from the moment we come to life to the moment we leave this life. It is one of the rare constants in our ever-changing inner and outer worlds. Draw your awareness down from the mind and into your heart space. Become aware of its energy, its pace, its presence. Can you feel it? With a hand on your heart, your sense of human touch can feel the life within you, something greater than all the demands and deadlines spouted out by the logical mind.

After all, as Helen Keller once said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched — they must be felt with the heart.”

Whether you connect greater with your mind or heart, take the time to pause today. Whether you have literally just bashed away for a deadline on a keyboard, pause. Take a guilt-free moment for yourself and catch a breath, be aware of your heartbeat, tap into your senses of what is around you in this very moment. These snippets of present moments are paramount to your physical, mental and spiritual health. Your future self will look back on these small positive changes and thank you for this present moment.

Shelley F. Knight
Shelley F. Knight is an author, writer, spiritual artist and advocate for positive change. She is author of Positive Changes: A Self-Kick Book, the first in a series of straight-talking self-help books, and a freelance writer on the subjects of positive psychology, spirituality and parenting. Armed with a first-class degree in adult nursing and a plethora of spiritual qualifications and experience, she supports people on their journey to positive self-acceptance, using a range of clinical and spiritual tools, so that they can rise up to their highest potential in all aspects of their sacred life. Shelley runs Positive Changes workshops, and spiritual workshops for beginners in Northamptonshire in the United Kingdom. Visit www.shelleyfknight.com.

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