Using your senses to get you present in the here and now

Within the blink of an eye it probably seemed like yesterday you were just 7 years old , playing house and dreaming of the day you would become a mother . Now , a few years later here you are , pregnant with a real baby of your own on the way .
I’m sure in-between the playing house and becoming pregnant there was a journey ,an unraveling of events and a series of circumstances that brought you to where you are today .
When you live in the present moment you will find that it is in the getting there ( the journey )  is where all the magic happens . The journey is where you find all the lessons and the gifts that each precious moment holds , these are the stepping stones taking you to the end result . Sadly , many of us go through life with blinders on , just like a horse racing to the finish line only seeing the end result . When we live this way we disconnect from life itself.
Being pregnant with a child is one of the most miraculous times in ones life , I mean come on .. You are literally making a human being and it doesn’t get cooler than that !! Each and every day your baby is growing and  something new is developing .The day your baby will be born will be one of the most memorable and special times in your whole life as this day will NEVER happen again . Lastly , right before your very eyes your children will grow so fast , before you know it they will be all grown up , leaving home to go start their life as an adult .
This day and age with more and more families both having to work and living in a world where multi tasking and ADD have become the new norm , its harder to slow down , drop in , focus and be present .
I always LOVED this quote by Jessie Jackson – ” Your children need your presence more than your presents. ” Think back on your childhood for a minute or two … What happy memories do you have of the times  you and your parents spent together ? I’m sure it wasn’t them just being there but how they spent their time with you that you remember the most .  Some of my happiest memories that I can remember are when my mom took me to the park and was swinging with me in a swing , my dad teaching me to ride a bike , my grandfather letting me sit on his lap and drive the golf cart , my mom coloring with me , my dad swimming with my brother and I , my grandmother playing cards with me ….. There was nothing fancy about it , just regular events , however they were all present and engaged  while doing each activity with me . There were no cell phones or computers to distract, just us doing whatever we were doing in the moment, even if it was only for a few short minutes , it made a difference .
  When my new moms have anxiety about having to go back to work I always assure them by saying , ” It’s not how much time you spend with your children that matter but the way you choice to spend that time with them that does.
When I take a woman through her pregnancy I usually give her a monthly theme to work on that will help her be a better leader , parent and role model . I find that by being a  living example of what you are trying to teach can be the best form of guidance . This month I am teaching the theme ” Being mindful in the present moment “.  We can often get overwhelmed With the amount of responsibility and pressure normal life holds which can knock us off our ground . When we aren’t grounded we become disconnected and unable to focus on whats right in front of us in this very moment . The past is gone , the future hasn’t happened yet so this beautiful moment in time is all we really have . Each choice you make , how you choose to be and  what you do in the present moment is the stepping stone that is building yours , your baby’s and families future .
 *This week play around with focusing on your 5 senses
We are blessed to have 5 senses – Hearing , Smelling , Seeing , Tasting and Touching . Each one can be amazing tools to help ground ones energy and get present . Here are some ways you can play around with each one of them to help connect you  more in the here and now .
TASTE- While you are eating practice doing nothing but eating and being with your food. Bring your attention to the way you chew your food and notice how fast and many times you chew before you swallow it , are you shoveling it in fast or do you eat slow and take a breath or two before your next bite ? Feel the food in your mouth and notice the texture ; is it smooth or soft , hard or spongey ? Taste the flavors ; Does it taste salty , sour , sweet , spicy ? Feel how grateful you are for this food and how it is feeding and nourishing both you and your baby .
SOUND – Listening to the sounds in your environment is one of the best ways I have found to ground yourself in the now . Listen to the birds chirp , people talking , cars going by . Notice how the noises affect you . Do they calm , aggravate or make you happy ? Play some music , listen to the beat , words ,sounds and rhythms that each instrument makes . notice how different music makes you feel . Focus on and Listen to the person talking to you . Pay attention to what they are saying without the intention to answer but purely just to hear what they will have to say . Everyone just wants to be herd . I will let you in on a little secret of mine .. People will tell you all you need to know if you just drop in and listen.
SIGHT – Look at everything around you , take in all the beauty , notice the color, shapes and textures that surround you . Look at the people you pass and notice how each one is unique and different . When speaking with someone show respect by looking at them. Something you can try on your daily drive or walk home is to stay off the phone and really focus on the road and look at everything you drive / walk by . If you mind starts day dreaming bring it back to your drive / walk . I bet you will be amazing at all you have missed seeing up until now .
SMELL – While eating smell your food , notice the smells where ever you go , smell the different odor from people around you , take time to smell the flowers , notice what smells you find appealing and the ones that you dislike . Do certain smells remind you of past memories or people ?
TOUCH – Feel all the different textures and surfaces all around you . If you have a pet notice how their fur feels , when you hug someone feel their body against yours and see if you can feel their energy . Touch someone and feel their skin is it hot or cold , dry or moist ? When eating feel the food in your mouth and notice the texture .Walk barefoot and feel the earth supporting you . Feel the sun shinning heat on you the air blowing on your body . When you shower feel the water on your body , notice the temperature ; what feels better hot or cold ?

 When I have a lot going on and can’t focus , I drop everything , grab my dogs and go for a walk in my neighborhood . I leave my phone at home and do a walking meditation . I find that just with in a few short blocks My mind becomes still and I feel very present and grounded in my body . My neighborhood is quiet and peaceful , if yours isn’t then you might want to venture out  somewhere to do your walking meditation ; like a park , the beach , the mountains or a peaceful road .
Here is a simple walking meditation that anyone can do –
Begin by walking , paying attention to your feet and the way they hit the ground , listen to the sound of your feet as you walk , Notice the sounds in the air , the birds chirping , the leaves on the trees moving , if there is water listen to the rhythm … If your mind starts thinking bring your attention back to your feet and the sounds , smells and sights that are all around you . Start to take in the smells of the flowers , the cut grass or maybe food cooking somewhere , open your eyes and see all the different colors  and textures that are all around you . Feel the sun heating up your body and the air surrounding you . If you are walking a dog , listen to their breathing and footsteps as well . At anytime your mind starts to wander bring it back to your surrounding environment . If you see a bird  ,bug or an animal watch it for a while and again if you start day dreaming or thinking of all you have to do, bring it back to your walk and be in the now .
Doing this often helps train your mind to be focused and present in the moment . It also helps to see and notice all the beauty around you that you might over look when disconnected from your self and life .
Over the next few weeks I will be posting a few more things you can do to live more presently .

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