‘Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment.
Only this moment is life.’
~Thich Nhat Hanh
My mother had this habit of playing her harmonium every evening after getting home from work. Sometimes she sang too. Whenever she was in this zone, she’d have her eyes closed and looked as though she was connecting to something beyond sight. I’ve come to understand this was her way of grounding her mind at the end of the day regardless of how it went. It was her form of meditation.
It was her joy.
The power of this exercise was lost on me- until I had to find a grounding method myself. There’s something very intimidating about the concept of this moment being the only one. There’s also a liberating feeling attached to this concept as in that moment it also frees yourself from your past while telling your future to be silent for just a bit.
Essentially, what my mum did was make a habit for being in the moment for at least an hour everyday- regardless of how her day went. I suppose that may have been her fountain of youth secret.
According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors on any given day.
Take a look in the mirror. That person is the sum of your habits. How in shape or out of shape are you? Have you drawn today? Have you added to your drawing portfolio this week ? How much money have you saved this past month? The answers to these questions are all affected by one common factor- your habits.
We all want to be the best we can be— creative , at peace, loving, healthy. But to actively accomplish this daily? That’s the tough part. I bet you have your share of distractions daily, but what you let consume your thoughts and wind up doing as a result each day is what ultimately shapes you. Your present self is a sum of your behaviors in each moment.
So is it then possible that to change your behaviors you must have certain beliefs about yourself to be successful?
It would explain how she kept a positive aura about herself regardless of how the day went.
1) Know who you want to be.
2) Commit to being this person in small ways.
Things appear overnight- they are not made overnight. Take it little by little by embodying that which you hope to be.
Want to become a better artist?
Who you want to be: A person dedicated to perfecting his/her process to produce exceptional work for art portfolio by practicing daily.
Small steps: Pick a theme for the week. Eg. Heartbreak/ Nature/ Music. Decide on two drawings you want to complete for that week. Each day, have a goal for the progression for each drawing. Document your progress by taking pictures and decribing it on your social media account to build your following from the early days. If you stay consistent, by the end of the year you would have 96 additions to your art portfolio and an audience.
Want to become a blogger?
Who you want to be: The type of person who writes daily.
Small steps: Journal daily. Use inspiration from your journal and daily life to write about something. Keep it simple. Build detail as you get comfortable writing more and more.
Want to be taken seriously at work?
Who you want to be: the type of person who takes initiative.
Small steps: Notice something that can be improved and find a creative solution and implement it. Another approach can be to ask for additional responsibilities or training.
You can’t rely on being motivated but if you constantly remind yourself of who you hope to be and follow through on the small daily tasks you think that person would do, its a start to using your time wisely one step at a time.
Adopt the lifestyle you think the person you want to be adopts- build that part of your personality- and watch the results trickle in. Chances are you might be too focussed on putting in the work toward that aspect of your personality you won’t even notice the success as it rolls in because you would have already found peace with the part of yourself that relied on the short term motivation.
My mum strived for peace of mind regardless of feeling or circumstance and her habit was her music. I can only hope to be as disciplined. I wish you the best of luck in becoming who you wish to be as well.