“Life is a dance. Mindfulness is witnessing that dance.” – Amit Ray
I know, I hear you.
“Dangit James Michael, now I can understand how going to bed earlier and getting up earlier and focusing on important work can raise my productivity, but mindfulness? Meditation? Presence? What’s this woo-woo voodoo got to do with staying productive toward my dream of professional photography?”
Time is precious.
But presence is powerful.
One of the most insidious forms of The Resistance is that of distraction.
Not the obvious stuff: constant e-mail dings, Facebook notifications, and that coworker who’s never around until you’re working on deadline.
Distraction is the slippery, slithering snake in the thicket: you see it when you come across your to-do list from three months ago (last year?) and recognize how long it’s been since you even thought about your dreams. You skipped your morning routine, had a spat with your spouse, and then went off the rails for months.
E-mail and Facebook will distract you for hours. That annoying coworker? Minutes.
But The Resistance will distract you forever, if you let it, or the over-and-over-again equivalent if left unchecked.
Mindfulness is the hydrogen bomb in the scorched earth campaign against distraction.
Mindfulness is hard, though.
It takes proactivity, purpose, prioritization; slowness, stillness; awareness.
Especially when we already feel like there’s no time to waste, it’s a big ask to stop and look around and think.
But consider it this way:
Life – job, family, friends, passion work, community – demands you put the pedal to the metal seven days a week.
Before long, you’re going 90-to-nothing. You know you’re getting somewhere, but you have no idea where that somewhere is, or if it’s where you wanted to go in the first place.
Mindfulness is the act of hitting the brakes, pulling over, and checking the GPS.
“You’re certainly busy… But is what you’re busy with taking you where you want to be in life?
“Going further down a road you don’t want to be on just because you’re already pretty far down it doesn’t take you closer to where you want to be, does it?”
“Where are you, where do you want to be, and what change in course do you need to make to get there?”
Over and over, I’d get serious, get committed, and set goals for myself. Health goals, photography goals, business goals, fatherhood goals, husband goals, employee goals. Something would shake me up (a mini-Harajuku moment), I’d get mad and get my to-do list out, and get back on track.
For a day. Maybe a week, at the most.
Three months later…
“Now I’m mad and motivated and I’m gonna get this stuff done! Where’d I put that to-do list…”
For years I repeated this cycle of get serious, make a plan, then get distracted from everything I was so desperate to achieve.
The Resistance had an easy time of it with me.
Maybe you’re sitting there, shaking your head, recognizing how easy a target you’ve become as well.
If so, this is for you.
Read more inside…