Nov 18 2014

Laura McDonald,


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Clarity, Living Fully, Mindfulness



“Some people think it’s holding that makes one strong – sometimes it’s letting go.” ~Unknown~

On a recent fall day I was in New York City’s beautiful Central Park teaching my boot-camp class with an amazing group of women. We mix it up with cardio, strength training and yoga and we love being outside. We often close with a relaxation pose, lying on our backs on the ground.

As we got comfortable and opened our hearts towards the sky, we collectively felt a sense of amazement and calm wash over us. We looked up through the green and gold leaf covered branches swaying in the wind, hearing their peaceful hum, and gazed at the deep blue sky sprinkled with dancing, white, puffy clouds. We remarked how incredible this exact moment was, how blessed we were to be right here, right now, and how awe inspiring the simple things in life can be. We talked of childhood and that special feeling you’d get when you’d lay outdoors on your back and stare up at the sky, your heart and mind full of wonder, hope, and the belief that anything is possible.

Then I heard it, a siren in the far distance, it’s intensity slowly building as it came closer to our sacred spot, grinding and groaning and screaming as it made it’s way down the nearby city streets. The searing noise finally came to a crescendo and then began to slowly ebb it’s way towards silence as it traveled farther away to it’s destination. We all remained still as we let it pass through the moment. I was again reminded that we have the power, the choice, to let things “interrupt” our state of mind, or to stay centered within ourselves. After the noise had died down I said, “That siren is like every other barb thrown at us throughout the day, those stressful interruptions that want to take control of the moment and knock us off course. But here we are, just as still and calm as when we started and what a beautiful moment it still is.”

Guess what? We do have a choice. We don’t have to barrel through the day, head down staring at our phones, rushing to get from point A to point B, stressed out with worry about what’s to come or what should have been, letting the “sirens” of life interrupt our flow.

Try any of these ideas to help you let go and be in the moment:

1 )  Take a day-dream break

Get outside and find a yummy lawn, a park bench or the edge of a pond and lie down just like a little kid. Breathe deeply, gaze up at the sky and listen to the sounds of nature around you. What do you see? What do you hear? Notice how the breeze and sun feel on your skin, your heart-beating. How does it feel? Let your mind go and your body relax. Don’t hold onto any thought, let them come and go. Maybe you’ll even doze off for a few minutes, and that’s fine. Let it all go.

2)  Let time be time

Of course we all have schedules we need to stick to, but very often we impose extra stresses on ourselves by fretting over the time. Instead of checking the clock and thinking, “I should have done this already, or I have to do that, or why don’t I get everything done when I’m suppose to?” Let go of what you think time should mean, and try letting the time just be the time. If it’s 4 pm, it’s 4 pm! Realize that every moment of every day offers a fresh start.

3)  Don’t worry about what others think of you 

While you’re worrying about what others think about you, they’re probably worrying about what you think of them. This is destructive and a waste of time and energy and worrying about anything totally sucks the life out of “being in the moment”. Set yourself free from this kind of thinking and embrace who you really are. Step into your unique place in the world, the place only you and no one else occupies, with pride and integrity and live WHO you are right now. Give yourself permission to stop worrying about what others think. Who cares?

4)  Stop drama before it begins 

Once that drama train leaves the station it’s hard to stop it. Make a pledge to yourself to stop drama before it begins, to stay connected to your breath, to remain open and love others and yourself without conditions. When we can appreciate our individual differences, when we can forgive mistakes (including our own!) when we can remain calm and flexible, we also create stronger self-worth and a more powerful connection to being present.

5)  Make friends with the present moment

We sometimes get caught up thinking that if we resist and fight what is in the present moment we can force ourselves into happiness. Most of the time we have no control over our external conditions and fighting it can actually lead to more suffering, stress and anxiety, all taking you farther away from the present moment. So maybe the elevator is taking for ever or the traffic is insane, don’t allow that to ruin your day, especially your inner peace.

Make friends with the present moment, there’s no better place to be.

Laura McDonald is a busy mother of three, a musician, writer, foodie, an ACE certified Personal Trainer and Holistic Health Coach in NYC. She is a contributor and top wellness expert on health and wellness sites such as MindBodyGreen and the Well-Being Network. She loves training her clients and groups outdoors, writing rock songs, working on her yoga skills and creating recipes full of love. Laura is on a mission to help busy men and women of all ages create a leaner, healthier, happier life.

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