One of the practices I’m trying really hard to implement right now is that of ‘being in the moment’. As one of life’s natural control freaks, I spend a lot of time trying to think through all possible future scenarios and trying to avoid potential (but usually unlikely) disasters. And of course the result of that is experiencing worry and anxiety about things that have never even happened. I have got very tired of my tendency to do this, and am trying instead to remind myself that the only thing I have any control at all over is what I’m doing right now, at this very moment. I can’t alter the past, I can’t predict the future. So how instead can I approach the present moment?
As I’ve thought about this more recently, I’ve found that many of my favourite pastimes involve that ‘being in the moment’ – I’m fully engaged in what I’m doing, but also relaxed, and am also using more than one of my senses. Knitting was one of the ways I chose to reach that state of tranquillity today. I only learnt to knit about 4 years ago, and started because I’d read in a magazine that it was a good way to relax. How right they were. I’ve grown to absolutely love it, and have made some good friends at my local knitting group (and no, we’re not all old ladies. Haven’t you heard that knitting is in again?). Knitting is great as a mindfulness activity on so many levels:
- Touch – you’re feeling fantastic yarns go through your fingers with every stitch: cool silks, fluffy angoras, velvety alpaca…
- Sight – the range of colours is just stunning and a delight to look at
- Sound – the rhythmic click of the needles as you work is soothing
- Mind – you have to focus on what you’re doing or you can mess up the pattern, but there is often a sequence of repeats that your mind and hands settle into. This allows you to do other stuff too – I love listening to plays or dramas on the radio as I knit. If you haven’t discovered Radio 4 Extra then you’re missing a treat.
- Creativity – you’re making something completely unique. You can play around with different yarns, colours and stitches to create something that’s just right for you or the person you’re knitting it for. At the moment I’m making some really snuggly fingerless gloves – I thought winter had gone but having seen the reports on the news today of the 20 foot high snowdrifts not far away, I’m sure they’ll be getting some use pretty soon.
How do you stay in the moment? I’d love to hear your tips.