This is the takeaway idea from the podcast story, Mother Midnight and it’s all about the practicing mind. You don’t have to read or listen to the story to get this post.
Past, Present, Future.
Today’s takeaway idea is about the past, present, and future and nothing to do with A Christmas Carol. The takeaway ideas often come from some theme in my life that—unintentionally—makes its way into my writing. The theme in my world the last month or so has been to be more present-minded and present-focused throughout my day.
First, I’ve been re-listening to an audiobook called The Practicing Mind. It’s really good, and I highly recommend it. It’s both meditative and instructive. The main premise of the book is to be in the present moment more. That we tend to have increased happiness when we do so. It’s the mindset we have when we learn something for the first time—totally engrossed in the task, nothing else matters. The book’s call to action is to keep that mindset for all our tasks and in our life in general—to keep the practicing mind.
Like the main character Caleb, to not think about what he wants, he has to think about the present. Gratitude. The task at hand. Learning. This is a mental challenge in the story, and I think it would be if our life depended on it! But, I thought I’d share my personal experiences this past month of staying present and how it’s affected me.
First, I find it to be a pretty good idea, but as with all things, there’s a balance. Looking to the future—you know I’m a dreamer—enjoying the past and living in the moment. Overall though, I’ve found that a practicing mind is something worth practicing.
Second, is that my focus on this the last month has brought to my attention those things that take me out of the moment. Things that take me away from where I really want to be. As I learned in The Practicing Mind, the more I think about the end result, and compare my present state of progress to that desired end, the more agitation I feel because I’m not there yet. Instead of being right where I’m supposed to be, I’m just always not there yet, and I end up making less progress as a result. Eliminating that constant comparison is a major stress reliever!
The other big distraction for myself is my phone. It is the ultimate drug of quick, easy escape. Social media, email, text, play a little online chess. Maybe it’s a generational thing, or perhaps it’s just me, but it was crazy to become aware of how much I pick up my phone in a day… in an hour!
So, I started taking extreme measures. At night, my phone goes away in my desk. There’s a little compartment where I can charge it, and it’s hidden away. A new alarm clock gets me up, and I cannot look at my phone until at least 9:30. That gives me a full hour and a half of writing before I glance at Instagram or Facebook or check my texts.
On my first day of doing this, I was three times more productive with my writing than previous days. That’s huge! On the second day, I forgot about my phone until almost 10 o’clock. And guess what? In those days and the days since, I have not missed anything important. Perhaps I’m just not important enough, lol, or maybe what’s important isn’t on social media or in my email…
So, my results: increased focus, increased productivity, increased creativity, less stress. Overall, it’s been a really positive experiment on my end that I’m going to continue with.
Your Practicing Mind
If you want to give staying present a shot, here are a few things to try… and they’re free!
First, you can join Prince Ea’s Mind Detox program. It’s a week of emails where you get one email a day with a new task. They’re all centered on staying present, and they’re easy to do, like a breath exercise or a five-minute meditation exercise. This was another one of those things that came into my world this month centered on the theme of staying present. Thanks, Universe! I’ll put a link for this in the description.
Finally, I’d love for you to listen to the audiobook, The Practicing Mind, and I’m happy that I can help you do that. Just go to audibletrial.com/morethanastory and sign up for a FREE one-month subscription to Audible, which includes one free download.
I’ve been an Audible subscriber for years, and I love listening to audiobooks when I work out, run, go food shopping, or cook dinner. It’s also an essential road trip companion! And Audible isn’t just audiobooks either. They have podcasts, exclusive Audible Originals, and more. You will be entertained, and you can learn new things along the way. I’ll recommend The Practicing Mind, but go where your heart leads you. Other favorites of mine are The Compound Effect and The 4-Hour Work Week.
Again, go to audibletrial.com/morethanastory to claim your free one month trial of Audible, and your free download.
Thanks again for listening, everyone, and I look forward to delivering the next story to you before Thanksgiving. It’s going to be a fun adventure among the stars and a little goofy if all goes to plan. See you all then, and have an awesome month ahead!
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