Productivity. Mindfulness. All the time?

I hear the alarm clock go off at around 5:15 am this morning. It is the smallest of clicks. But immediately my brain is awake, though it’s a Saturday morning. I feel my heart start racing. I NEED to finish my dream. I have an activity to finish in my dream. What was it? I am working on a slideshow. There is a picture of my friend in a cheerleading outfit. My friend in my dream is actually a merge of two people (Flo and Midori). Then I shake myself out of my thought pattern and think, “This is silly. It’s only a dream.”

Practice #1: Becoming conscience that I didn’t have to finish my presentation that was only part of my dream. Instead realizing that my thoughts are compelling me.

My heart continues to race. My body tensed in flight or fight.

Practice #2: To slow down my heart rate, a phrase comes into my head, “what does it feel like to be me?” This is something that is repeated every Tuesday morning in yoga class. It’s a phrase by my yoga teacher to trigger mindfulness of our physical state. So, I thought about where my feet were in space. What did they feel like? My feet are tangled up in my blankets. I realize my right foot is at an awkward angle in the sheets. I shake my feet free of the blankets and straighten it consciously. In the book, the Peaceful Warrior, the author talks about being conscience of what different parts of your body are doing in space. Specifically, he mentioned when diving he was told by his mentor to think about where his hands are in space as he stands at the top of the diving board before a dive. This is to calm his thoughts and be in the present moment.

Then I started to think about everything I need to accomplish today. Laundry. Voting. Email from work! Take my computer to the Apple store. The action items grow and grow. And suddenly, all I want to do is get up and start doing. Note – it is now 5:40 am on a Saturday morning. Granted, I was already sleeping in. Normally, I try to get up around 5:10 am. Yes, at that specific time – 5:10 am is just not as bad as 5 am, but it gives me time to leave the house by 5:30 am and head to the gym at work.

I “try” to lie in bed and relax. I really do. I lie there for about 7 minutes, but I feel like I am wasting my time because I’m fully awake. I start thinking. I think about Wendy and her Mystery Man (blogger of www.wendyslookbook.com). I ask myself, “Does her cat Sammie help her from being lonely?” Then I think, this is a waste of thinking energy. I am just lying in bed thinking useless thoughts. So I get up. Is this good or not? I don’t know. All I want to do is get up and get my day started. Get things done (by the way, a good book – Getting Things Done). So, I get up and start my day.

I like to read for about 5-10 minutes in the morning. I pick up a book, Manage Your Day-To-Day. Another good book. And I read a section by Tony Schwartz on building renewal into your day. My takeaway from this particular section of the book is to do the thing that you want to accomplish most in the day first thing in the morning. It’s something I try to do every day. Every morning, I try to think, “What do I want to accomplish today?” And, I try to not get caught up in email and do that one thing. Sometimes I am successful. As a side note, I often think of what Master Yoda says, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Yes, I have that phrase memorized.

This morning, I decide I want to write a blog post. Thus, you see this blog post, the first in over 2 years. So, “check mark” in my mental list of to-do’s. And an internal smiley face.

So, in summary, yes, I practice productivity and mindfulness all day, every day pretty much. But, I am reminded by my reading in the morning that I also need to build in renewal. For me this morning, it’s actually writing this blog post – doing something “creative.” Getting my mind to work in a new direction. I’ll get back to my to-do list today. And, I’ll also go workout, enjoy the morning with friends at the farmer’s market, putz about since it’s a Saturday, read some of my sci-fi / fantasy novel, go out tonight, then live life all over again tomorrow.

There are several moments throughout the day where I “practice” mindfulness. It’s not because I’m this fully “realized” individual or anything that elevated. Rather, it’s because I’m human. I’m constantly caught up in my thoughts, my emotions, my habits (another good book – The Power of Habit). And, I use lots of techniques I’ve learned in yoga or in books to pull myself into the present moment and live life “in the Now.”

Am I a dork? Yes. Absolutely. Without question. But, my friend Mary said in high school when I asked her this particular question said, “No, you’re just Leslie.” Thanks Mary 🙂

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