Self Improvement

Messing with Mindfulness

Living in the moment is all the rage. Being present without thought of past or future but only embracing what is in front of you now is a mantra I have heard often. I know that I live through time too much. I rarely stop and seek the aroma along the journey. I have mixed feelings about being totally present. Mindfulness can lead to obsessive self interest – the selfies culture that records the nuance and minutiae springs from being hyper aware of ‘now’ in what I see as unhealthy behaviour. But being mindful in a difficult conversation removes the edges of anxiety and emotion. I can see the discussion unfolding in front of me like a hockey game – I get to be part of the broadcast crew (neutral but interested).

I tend to try presencing when I am alone on a journey. Driving across the prairies can be monotonous so I meditate on what I am encountering. How is the scenery changing. the geology?the topgraphy? the surface of the road? How many cars come towards me in 2 minutes? Where are they going? I have seen some amazing stuff when I turn my attention to the moment rather on the past, the future or some fantasy. Fifteen pronghorn antelope crossed the highway in front of me, at a full gallop, and without breaking stride dipped under the bottom strand of a 3 wire fence. I have witnessed red tailed hawks hunting in pairs, sunlight glistening on a canola field and for a stretch of 32 km, not another car in sight.

The journey is interesting and when I live in the current situation, the destination magically gets closer faster. It is like when I tell my grandkids that if “they go to sleep, I will take a shortcut” magic. Time’s elastic nature slows in the moment a speeds in the aggregate. I don’t gaze down the highway or wonder about what is in the rear view mirror. I am sure that my focus is sharpened when I don’t try hold too much time simultaneously. When I walk a familiar path, after the first 10 minutes, I find I can fall into the rhythm that I am hearing in the here and now.

I don’t practice mindfulness all the time. I find forcing it exhausting, when around more than one other person. I can’t manage it when I feel there is deadline or I am brushed with rush. I haven’t figured out where it fits in my creative or athletic processes and if I have limited control over the situation I find it impossible.

The mind and time shifting properties of meditating on this moment are overblown and under appreciated depending on the messenger. Like everything I encounter, it is easy to say and harder to do but today as I journey across the city on foot, I am open to what those minutes will offer.

Make Today Mindfully Remarkable,

Self Improvement


Progress isn’t solely defined by the ending. It is also about each step in the journey. Each day means another 24 hours have passed and if I miss the experience because I am waiting for some arbitrary period to pass – 168 hours, a month, a year, a decade I never get it back. If I choose to celebrate the moments or at least be aware that they are with me and that in each one there could be some magic then my life will be truly lived. Each second is fleeting and I can’t desperately strive to recognize the importance of each but I can set my heart to a different setting that is sensitive to my surroundings and my interactions. Rather than living through time towards the net appointment, the next vacation, the next birthday I can choose to live in time; to be globally present with myself, the world around me and the people beside me. I know people who are very good at being present and I always feel that they respect me. Does that mean that if I am living for the next minute that they feel I am disrespecting them. My beloved sees things when we walk together that I totally miss because I am focused on getting where we are going. She always gets there too but enjoys the surroundings and the pace much more than me.

How do I begin being more present? It would seem that by choosing to be here, now and then choosing again and again would be a start. If I set out today with a talisman; a reminder on my wrist, to be present now and every time I feel it or touch it that I focus on that intention I might have a chance of holding myself still enough to embrace the here and now.


Make Today Remarkable  by making each moment remarkable,



The Road Less Gravelled

roadI was writing to congratulate a friend about a momentous change they just made in their career and was encouraging him to be excited by the journey. (A lesson I am constantly trying to learn and incorporate). Both of us, like many I know, are destination oriented. As I was typing (pecking really) I misspelled traveled (or spell check did) and it became gravelled. When I reread the sentence it sound more appropriate.

For the true urbanites, the Free Dictionary defines gravelled as; To apply a surface of rock fragments or pebbles or stones to a road. Gravel gives you traction on the road, especially in dangerous or difficult conditions. It allows you to think about something other than the road you are travelling because it keeps you between the  ditches and on the straight and narrow.

Maybe a little less gravel and a little more attention would help us focus on the present; the journey and appreciate how we are getting there rather than just on arriving.

I have a 3000 km drive next week and when I get back to Calgary a headlong rush to complete 4 projects before the end of April.  Maybe the lesson applies to both.


Prepositions rather than Propositions

We always imagine that our life will be changed by a huge proposition that comes our way. A job , a marriage proposal, an offer you can’t refuse … Theses things do alter our paths but the wouldn’t happen without our prepositions.

In, of, for and with are tiny words with remarkable impact. Each signal a different perspective and guide us to a different destination.

You can be in a job, in a relationship, in love or in cahoots. In represents a beginning, a small commitment, a testing the waters phase. There is anticipation but wariness, optimism but anxiety. You aren’t sure if you are in this or have one foot waiting for something else.

When you become part of a cause, a movement, a relationship, a partnership the commitment stakes go up. You see endless possibilities in the present and can envision a future. In the ‘of’ phase you are connecting ideas as in ‘ fond of sunsets’ or ‘she is a colleague of mine’. Anxiety is reduced and hope increases.

‘For’ shifts your attention and intention. For the sake of someone or something else points to self actualization and the recognition of something or someone outside yourself.  Loyalty and allegiance; the feeling of strong support for, becomes a reciprocating norm. Even if the object of your loyalty is abstract like ‘do it for love’ or ‘in it for the money’, the motivation shifts away from you.

Finally, the ‘with’ phase. Cooperation, collaboration, collective impact become tactical weapons. You compliment, complete, correspond in support of each other. “I am with you”, signals a destination of confidence and acceptance.

These prepositions aren’t linear and don’t necessarily follow a pattern from in to with. One day you can be with and find yourself at for the next day. It is these tiny steps, forward and back, that form the path(your path) to a destination where a big proposal might be possible.

Make Today Remarkable, in your way, for the sake of others, with someone you love,