Nothing Happens Next

“If you cannot learn to enjoy doing the mundane things in life, you will never truly be able to enjoy what you are looking forward to doing.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

I recently read an old New Yorker cartoon depicting two monks in robes with shaved heads. One monk is young, and one monk is old. They are sitting together with legs crossed on the floor. The younger monk is looking quizzically at the older monk, who has turned toward him saying, “Nothing happens next. This is it.”

Rushing is a habit that is at the core of a stressful life and prevents us from fully arriving in the present moment. How often do you find yourself thinking about what comes next or rehearsing the future? 

Make a habit of being in the now. Calm and deliberate actions can be a useful way to practice slowing down connecting to the present moment.  

Slowing down

Recognize when you are doing versus being.

Practice slowing down by connecting with your body.

Imagine yourself moving in slow motion.

Listen to the sounds in your environment.

Ground yourself with the steady pace of your breath.

Practice taking brief meditation breaks throughout the day.

Give yourself permission to do less.

Practice watching the present moment without trying to change it or do anything.  What is happening? What do you feel? What do you hear? What do you see? When we slow down long enough, we can connect with a sense of witnessing our life, rather than being swept up in worries and rushing to the next item on our agenda.  When we let go of needing or wanting something to happen next, we take a profound step towards living in the present and fully experiencing the moment-to-moment unfolding of our lives. 

Dr. Thomas Lindquist, Psy.D.

Licensed Psychologist

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Published by tlindquistpsyd

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

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