Stopping to count the number of bites you take
Holding a pose a few seconds longer than you thought you could
Spending 5 more minutes snuggling in bed
Walking away from reacting to a situation
Tasting the last bite
Listening to every note
Feeling exactly what you are feeling
You don't have to put a label on it. It's ok to simply take from each moment exactly what you need. Too often we do things because we think we should and as a result we become numb to the experience of living.
I was recently talking with a friend about how I couldn't for the life of me remember an experience we shared, that she had very vivid memories of. This gave me a moment of pause- what the f@#% else have I completely forgotten- I wasn't aware I had dementia! How could I have forgotten something she so clearly remembered- like gone! No trace. Nothing but blank silence.
How often are we only giving half of our attention to something? How many things are we missing trying to do it all? As a woman, a mother, a wellness professional, keeper of everything from recipes to emotions, it's easy to get swept away in the tasks of daily chaos and forget to experience the stuff I am supposed to experience. I have been making an effort lately to slow down, focus on the things that give me some kind of happiness, some kind of benefit, or simply something to feel. It hasn't been all easy, but I can tell you, it has been a better way to live.
I can also tell you that when I apply it to my yoga practice I find that I get more out of it- maybe a physical benefit (rocking those handstands!) or maybe a bit more engagement (wow- I have muscles there!) and at the end of the day I feel fulfilled. Not in the existential "I have completely ascended to a higher plane" way, but more of a "ok, today didn't completely suck" kind of way. I remember to slow down and chew my food (sometimes), I enjoy the 30 minute walk with the dogs instead of checking off a chore, and even cleaning up from dinner becomes a bit more enjoyable (I said a BIT) because I am taking the time to be mindful and present.
There is plenty to give me anxiety or set my Irish temper flaring every day, but what is the point? At the end of it all it's not that big a deal. Maybe It's because the back side of 40 has a way of forcing you to slow down- I work harder for my poses, have to cut back a bit more on my plate, and forever doesn't seem as far ahead of me as it used to.
So my advice to you my foodie-yogi friends, is to learn to take a bit of that chaos life tosses at you and just sit with it. See what you see, feel what you fee, and just be mindful of the experience. Who knows, you might even like it.