“Can you create the life of your dreams?” asks Susan B. Lord, MD, in her R&R retreat lecture Mindful Living. More often than not, however, creating such a life can be challenging. As Susan points out, our culture can be quite isolating, demanding, and overstimulating. We live in a society that promotes linear thinking; meanwhile, our intuition, what Susan refers to as “the gut brain,” tends to be set aside. Because of this emphasis on a linear, head-centered existence, many of us are divorced from our bodies, and thus removed from the intuitive wisdom that resides within. We neglect our bodies—and our intrinsic physical needs—by sitting, often slumped, in front of a computer for eight (or more) hours a day; by not drinking enough water; or by over- or undereating. Because of this, Susan notes, many of us deny what we truly need through temporary measures, such as seeking out comfort foods or other unhealthy distractions, whenever we feel stressed, agitated, or lonely.
By cultivating a sense of mindfulness in our actions and experiences, however, we can create more space in our lives and encourage our intuition to flourish.
One of the keys to tapping into our intuition and creating a more mindful life is to step back and dis-identify from your stressors. You can do this, Susan says, simply by observing your stressors without judgment whenever they arise, and perhaps writing them down. For example, are you so harried that you often skip breakfast and end up feeling cranky and depleted before you even get to the office? By noticing this habit, you could make a plan to set aside time each morning to nourish yourself with a healthful breakfast before jumping into the day’s demands. “Pay attention to your body and give it what it needs in the moment,” Susan says. When you listen to what your body is telling you, you bring more awareness into your life.
If you notice that you’re constantly feeling anxious and run down—physically and emotionally—yoga, meditation, visualization, and seeking out a community of like-minded people can help you become calmer and more connected, both to yourself and the world around you. “We need to relax in order to be balanced,” Susan says, “so we can have as many options in life as possible.” When we are relaxed and at ease, and feel supported, regardless of our circumstances, we can make decisions and examine our lives through a broader perspective.
“Wherever your live is your future,” Susan reminds us. The present is the perfect place to start cultivating tools to create a more mindful life. By living in the moment, honoring your intuition, and nourishing your body, mind, and spirit, you’ll be in the road to creating the life you truly want in no time.
How do you foster mindful living in your own life?