This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, available by clicking here Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com
Now, on to my blog:
We all carry heavy, emotional loads around with us. Some call it “baggage.” Whatever you call it, it exhausts you and depletes your energy. This angst you create for yourself is manifested in: worrying, ruminating, stressing, fixating, obsessing, etc. over what has happened or what might happen.
The current, trendy advice is: live in the now. It sounds wonderful, but it’s so hard to do. We all suffer from mind drift. So, how do you turn off your thoughts from remembering your upsetting, negative experiences? How do you control your reflections from worrying about life’s possible, future land mines?
Like acquiring any new skill, it takes practice—constant practice. It also takes awareness of when your mind is drifting to those types of deliberation. So, it’s up to you to work at lightening your own load. And, it will only be successful if you want it badly enough. Here’s an idea to get you started:
Develop the habit of checking in with your mind on a regular basis to see if and where it has drifted. When that drift is to a negative place, stay vigilant and replace those thoughts with something positive or at least neutral. Use your environment as an aid.
In my new home, I have a variety of animal life that passes by. I’ve made it a point of stopping whatever I’m doing when I hear or spot a candidate from my window. I watch the free performance nature provides which puts my mind in a positive place.
That exercise can be done with all types of external stimuli found everywhere. For example, have you ever really looked at a flower growing outside? Don’t just glance at it; approach it and stare deeply at its structure. Notice each petal; notice the stamen and pistil in the center. Assess the color as it varies in shade from one part of the flower to another. Smell it. Does it have a strong scent, a mild scent, no scent? While you are doing this, your mind is focused totally on the flower.
It seems like a constant struggle to take control of our thought patterns. However, like learning any new skill, it becomes a bit easier each time you are successful. The aggregate of many successful experiences makes you more proficient at the task. Keep at it and see if the outcome leads to more contentment in your life. If not, you can always go back to wallowing in the turmoil your mind creates.
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Photo credit: feserc via VisualHunt / CC BY