Do something today your future self will thank you for.
A good friend of mine told me a story once about a guy who was, on the surface, extremely successful in every aspect of his life. Happily married, 2 kids, fancy house and a very respectable, highly paid job. Yet when it came to spending quality time at home with his family, he was found wanting. Let me explain. During the week he lived in London and travelled back home every weekend to spend time with his family.
He would arrive home late on a Friday night, crash through the front door, bags in hand, expecting a great welcome. It didn’t happen. The boys soon became disinterested and his wife always seemed really frustrated with him. Long story short. When he sat down and thought about why this might be happening he had a sudden realisation. It was him. He was causing the disinterest and frustration. When he walked through the door on a Friday night he was still in work mode. His first words to his kids were, “Stop!, Wait a minute, let me put my case down, hold on…”. When they gave up trying to get his attention they would stomp off in protest, his wife would shake her head and follow suit. The message his behaviour gave the kids was that work was more important. At the very time when they should have been the centre of his world, they weren’t. So he decided to change it.
From that point onwards when he arrived home he chose to finish off any work he had to do before leaving the car. He left his briefcase and coat in the boot and turned his phone off. He walked through the door, empty handed, with open arms, ready to put them first. The kids had their Dad back.
When I first heard this story I thought it was that, a great story. It never resonated with me until recently when my 4-year-old asked me; “Mummy, why do you love your phone more than me?”
Uh oh. I realised she’d been trying to engage with me for the last few minutes and I kept brushing her off. Guilt trip time. She was right in her observation. My behaviour of having my nose stuck in my phone when I should have been spending time with her, told her that my phone and its contents were more important than her.
Then it dawned on me. Not only am I giving my daughter a message that she’s not important, I’m also wishing this time away. Whilst I’m thinking about work, and I think about it a lot, I’m missing out on what’s going on right here, right now. My daughter wanting to spend time with me. When she’s 14 you can bet I’ll be on my knees begging her to spend time with me. I know I won’t always be the most important person in her life so what the hell am I doing wasting this time now? It’s easy to let life pass you by. By making a conscious effort to enjoy the here and now is a mindfulness technique that will ensure you take full advantage of what’s important, right now.
So here it is. My gift to my future self. I’m going to practice being present. Living here, in the moment, with her and my son. Specifically from the moment I pick them up from nursery until I tuck them up in bed at night. That is their time, with me, doing whatever makes them smile. Just being together. I think my future self will be proud and grateful for that.
So if you’re noticing that life is passing you by and you find yourself living life in the past or the future, then perhaps the idea of being more present, and in the moment, will appeal to you. We can help you make the most of now and live for the moment in our You’re Pretty Fit secret. To find out more about the practice of Mindfulness head on over to www.violetandcharlie.com. See you there,
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