Have you ever noticed the tiny droplets of water on the needles of a tree after a rainfall?
Until recently, I hadn’t! This got me thinking and asking myself, “What’s different?”
One of the changes that I’ve made in the past year is to be more present. I try not to dwell on the past or stress about the future.
I’m a pretty deep thinker, so this has been challenging. My husband will usually let me know when my expression does not match what’s going on around us and is able to snap me out of my head and back into the present moment. I know that my facial expression can be off-putting to some since it’s usually somewhat, well, serious. My husband tells me that my “in deep thought” expression can be interpreted as a disapproving look and that those around us might think it’s aimed at them. It’s not.
As a teenager I was told to, “smile” a lot by guys that didn’t find me very approachable. My sarcastic, don’t-take-no-shit younger self would typically respond in one of two ways: I would either emphatically display my middle finger or, after being told to “smile,” I would say, “I am.” If my expression didn’t scare them away, my response sure did!
As an adult, I am more concerned with how others interpret my facial expressions and I don’t want to scare anyone away. I’ve gotten feedback from people that have taken the time to get to know me who have told me that they were surprised to learn that I was warm and funny when they originally thought, upon first impressions, that I was stern and unapproachable.
One of the ways that I think I can look more approachable is if I AM more approachable. If I’m deep in thought and preoccupied, I’m sure I can’t look very inviting, but if I’m present and open to any given moment, people will be more comfortable when they interact with me.
Meditation has helped me to be more mindful, to get out of my head and into the present moment. Other things that have helped me are getting out in nature, yoga and minimalism. If you want to read more about how I incorporate these and other things in my life in order to be more present, you can read about them in previous posts.
I have found that, not only can people see US differently, but I think being more present can shift how we see and experience what’s around us.
Since the rain falls on the same trees in my yard each year, it must be me that’s changed.
I’ve noticed that I’m more able to fully experience people, places and things and for that I’m totally smitten with mindfulness!