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Ep. 8 - Pausing The Linear Flow of Time

by Hearts Rise Up
May 27th 2019
Ann and Carol expand the discussion on “Make Every Moment Count” - a previous blog post authored by Ann. They talk about what it means to “Be in The Moment”. They share insights from each other’s expe... More
Welcome to the Hearts Rise Up podcast. I'm carol chapman, your co host for this episode Rising up to life's challenges is hard work, especially in today's world with so much stress, chaos and fear all of which can pull us down if we let it. But life doesn't have to be hard. Sure there's always challenges for us to face, but we don't have to let outer circumstances or others dictate how we feel and act or define who we are now more than ever is the time to tap into our own inner power, because True power lies within not without. And when we dig deep and rise up to our best self, we're tapping into our loving heart centered higher self, the all knowing highest version of ourself. That's what the Hearts Rise Up podcast is all about. The more we can help people to tap into their higher self, the more you can elevate your life, the world and everything around you.

It's that simple. So let's get right into today's episode today. We wanna have a conversation and expanded conversation around a recent blog post that Ansari authored on our site a couple of weeks ago and is the co host of The Hearts Rise Up podcast and we're going to have a conversation today to talk about Making every moment Count. That was the name the title of her her post, and we're gonna talk about what it means to be in the present moment. And this is all something that's very much involved these days around the concept of mindfulness and and has been working over the last several years to um actually from a from a personal standpoint to be more present in the moment. And you had some great tips in that post. But first of all, and it's great to have you here. I love doing this show and this is the first time we've done it together.

Yes, thank you. Thank you for letting me be here today, carol and I'm really excited about the topic. I have a quote that I'd like to to read, and it's a quote that comes from your blog post, which will be a good lead in to our conversation today. But you had said that practicing mindfulness or being in the moment can aid you in accomplishing the expansion of time or pause the linear flow. I love that that statement and I'd like for you to just expand on that a little bit from your perspective. Well, I I think mainly the timing of writing that particular blog piece was precipitated by my own journey in terms of a lot is going on and I'm trying to be really mindful of everything that I have to do for others as well as for myself. And so yes, there's times where you just wish you had more time or that you wish time would go by faster so that you can get to something else.

And I really felt like I was in a spot of, okay, what can I control, what can I control? And mainly it's your attitude and your thoughts about a particular thing like time. And so that's what brought me to write that. But I really feel it's true, you can expand time and I know we're going to talk about some of the examples of that and methods and that you have abused yourself. Exactly. So what does it mean to be in the moment from your perspective? What's your, your definition of being in the moment? Well, I always think of Rmds and that book be here now when you said that about be in the moment and also just years and years of trying to continually be aware of the present time and not focusing so much on the past or what I have to do and what goals I have, but really to be in the moment to enjoy what's around you and to do it with all of your senses as opposed to, you know, I'm doing one thing, but I'm thinking something else or I'm thinking of something, but I'm not really even feeling my body, I'm just going through the motions.

I'm going to test that too. I'm guilty of that over the years of being in such a hurry to get things done and rush about my day that I lost track, total track of what what I was really doing and didn't even experience, you know, just the little things that I heard throughout the day. Exactly. And it's those little things that are such gifts to us when we can really stop slow things down and and be aware of them because those are the things that I feel like looking back in hindsight, those are the things that matter exactly. You know, people talk about that a lot like when they're babies turn into toddlers, they say oh I miss those moments when they were just babies and they were so in the moment, I know that's something that I think a lot of people wrestle with these days because it is such a fast and hurried world at what point did it become apparent or really important to you too, start practicing more mindfulness or being in the moment.

And I think from that standpoint we can lead into why is it important for everyone to do that? Well, I think like like we talked about when you're a child, you're kind of naturally there often and then I remember being a teenager and there was a lot of some stressful moments and my dad who was kind of an adventure and experimentalist, he taught me how to do biofeedback and so he would do countdowns and in the body of relaxation and I found that very valuable. And that's when I started thinking how powerful is our mind if we can do that. And then I got into transcendental meditation which also is about controlling in the moment, so that you can have an experience whether that experience is something visual or thoughts that come to your mind or it's stealing all those thoughts. So wherever you are in your path, I think mindfulness and meditation can help you along the journey.

Absolutely. And then as an adult, some of the things that hobbies that I've developed have been perfect examples of mindfulness. So I can give you one example now. Oh, I'd love to. Well I've always loved photography and I took a class in Atlanta and it was with the Rocky Mountain School of Photography and the teacher just left an incredible indelible impression on me when he talked about how to be in the right frame of mind for taking a picture. And so the pictures, I like to take our close ups, flowers nature and things like that. So we had some field trips and he would come around and sit with us and he would say don't just snap away. I mean there is a purpose for snapping away but he said sit down with the subject that you're intending to take the picture of and don't just shoot but be with it. And I was like be with it. What does that mean? He said just sit there and study, watch how the breeze blows or where the light enters the frame of your picture.

And and he said and really get into that moment and then your body will know when to click the shutter. That is just an excellent way of just describing what you just described because I've seen your work and it's phenomenal. Um, and I can see why you put the flower example in the blog post because that's something that you have that is ingrained in you from that experience um with him. And, and I think it's it's really important for us to to really take the time to be in the moment and really be focused on what it is that we're doing and that I think that has made you obviously a better photographer. I think it has. Well, thank you for the compliment. But yes, I think it just adds so much more to the whole intrinsic part of why those pictures stand out to me and what I want to share by taking them with others, You know, the beauty of that nature and on the and then another example of being in the moment.

That has helped me in my career as well as just a hobby is in public speaking, because I know you've done that often too. But if you can just be really still before you have to go in front of people and not so much worried about the outcomes, but like it's a chance to inject yourself with self confidence, but also just being really yourself and genuine and authentic and then go out, you know, and part of that is breathing and muscle control and things like that too. But I think that's another area that's helped me. Well, I know that you go you're involved in Toastmasters and you've been doing it for years and I've seen you in action because I've been to one of your sessions which I just love by the way, I think it would be helpful to know there there's obviously some things that are obvious no pun intended here, but um there's obvious things about why it's important.

But what are the not so obvious things as to why it's important to make every moment count or be in the moment? Well, I think we'll obvious is you can be more focused, you can be more like fully engaged and you can be less stressed. But I think the stress part leads to an article that we were just talking about by Deepak chopra where it's the physiological as well. And so it's not just when you think about the word control, um there's some things we can control, some things we can't control, but we can definitely aid our bodies and being more healthy by being in the moment. And you wanted to read a little bit about that? I think this is this is a great article by Deepak chopra and he talks about I'll just paraphrase a little bit here, but he talks about feeling in control is a critical issue in everyone's life. And you know, we both know that everyone knows that most people are uncomfortable being out of control, which is a state that produces anxiety, uncertainty, confusion, panic and loss of self confidence depending on how severe the loss of control is.

And then he goes on to say, let's see what a natural way of being in control looks like. And I love his description of this control starts at the cellular level. If you live entirely in the present, you are also in control. This isn't a connection that seems obvious. But the best example is right in front of you. If you look at your body, each cell exists in a state of natural dynamic balance. At every moment a cell can't afford to lose control. Which is true. I mean if it loses control, I mean that's when disease and ill health and everything starts to set in. It's a natural function of the body. So the multiple functions of a cell's existence, he goes on to say are handled simultaneously. And when the situation calls for a change, the cell responds flexibly. The cells multiple functions are reflected in activities familiar in your life, such as eating, drinking, breathing, reproducing, healing, renewing and resting.

And he says these are just broad outlines. But the cells actual activities span a vast chemical array of proteins and enzymes managed with exquisite sensitivity by the cells D. N. A. And then he asked what does this have to do with you feeling in control? Well, one connection is obvious. Your body must be functioning well in order for you to feel that you are in a state of well being, you can't be in control without a good night's sleep because poor sleep leads to hormonal imbalances and loss of motor control among many other things. So I think that there's something to be said here about being in a state of control and being in the present moment enables you to do that because you are fully aware of what you're thinking, what you're feeling and what's going on around you. Yeah, that's a wonderful article. And I think there's another section in there, I want to refer back to later, but I know that I as a person who is kind of a control freak is uh there's that part of control that is manic and then there's the control that we're talking about here where I can tell my mind what to do and I can tell my mind to focus on my breath and that way I feel like I have control over it, which can often be in a run on conversation and going off in all kinds of tannin.

Yeah, that's the manic. But when you're meditating, I think that helps you bring it to a focus point. And the other thing when he talks about that, you know, your body is so important to stay healthy and to stay in uh the kind of I guess what's that word? Homeostasis so that we can be we can function properly. And I think part of proper functioning is being in a meditative present moment state. Exactly. And we've got to have our physical health and that's that's really important. And it's really hard in this day and age for people to, you know, focus on their their physical health because there's so many factors that impact us that we can't control with the environment and how, you know, food is grown and you know, our lifestyle and what not, and we have to take the time to slow down and be more conscious of what we put in our bodies, how much rest we get or be conscious of our thoughts and aware of our emotional state.

Um I know remember when carol new stat recently the interview that we just did with her, she made an impression on me when she talked about the visualizations that she does with people who are going through chemotherapy and it helps them in with with everything that's going on around them to come to a state of stillness and meditation and and that's healthy for those cells and healthy, you know, maybe not be a cure, but it helps along the pathway to the cure. I think so, I mean, I think that was a very powerful statement and conversation that we had um with carol and I think it's it is really difficult for for people and I guess the question is what makes it Yeah, so difficult other than the obvious reasons are, you know, lifestyle to, to live in the present moment. Well, I have a good example from recently went to visit my brother in Connecticut and I was totally taken out of my environment and all the things I have to do, work everything and you know, taking care of the dogs and all of the things that we have to do.

And then I realize that when there's nothing in my environment, it's like a retreat almost that I can focus on being in the moment more and the best. I mean there were a lot of highs along this trip, but one of them was, we were just sitting and we're very comfortable in silence with each other. He thought I was too gabby, but overall very silent comfort comfortable. But there was a moment where I was like, I just love this sound in this house and the sound was his dog snoring and it was just, she was just breathing very softly, but you know, there was definitely a pattern and I said it just got me into a really good state of meditation myself and you know, and sometimes that's what group meditation is good for. You know, everyone kind of following their breath. And the other thing was that was a free retreat for me. But I've also done silent meditation retreats and that is another thing, it takes you out of your environment.

Now we can all take ourselves out of our environment every day, but we can find ways like if you can just shift your attention, maybe focus on your breath or some people use a mantra or just look out the window. One of my favorite scenes and there's a movie called phenomenon and it was a scene where they're trying to make a point about how you can calm yourself down and they're looking at the trees just swaying and making the analogy, it's like being rocked when you're a baby, you know, being held in your arms and that's such a calming scene. So I used that a lot and then also all of that helps you hit a reset button so that you can then deal with whatever stresses you have and I think that we all need to identify, you know, what are the ways because for each of us it can be a little different, you know, as to what can we can we can use to have as a reset button.

Um I know for me I need to just when, when I, when I feel myself getting getting frantic or anxious about something, I just closed my eyes and I just breathe um for you know several breaths basically and and that helps to calm me down. Um and there have been times in my life where probably about 55 years ago I was under a lot of stress, but it was self induced stress and I felt it in my body. I continually had muscle spasms in my right shoulder area and reverberating all the way up into my head and it would just be a pulsing, pulsing sensation and it was it was painful. But I I finally started getting more regularly back into meditation and focusing on mindfulness and being in the present moment and and being aware of what's what's going on in my body and deliberately consciously, you know, I would I, whenever I would feel tension brewing, that's when I say I have to reset, I have to close, shut my eyes, I need to think about what's focused on my body, calm my body down, relax it and it works.

And over time the repeated meditation daily um has helped tremendously. And it's not just the meditation because there's different awareness, it's just the awareness of it and it's just, you know, lowering the what's going on within the body so that you're not, it's not so that heightened tension. Yeah, it's very it's so important. And you know, just in chemistry, they talk about how the breath is helpful for pain control and all different kinds of things that you can really do a lot. It's not just about, can I calm my mind, but you're really doing a favor for your whole body. It is because breath is the vital life force energy within the universe that fuels all of us. Um And so the breath is very, very important. Let's um talk a little bit about how we can live in the present moment.

Yes, I think I wish I had you know that lifestyle of a monk that you could be in that environment all the time. But you know that's not realistic. So what I look at it is like when I think about the past which I used to be hyper focused on, I think the past informs us, but it does not define us absolutely. And the future is kind of drawing us whether willingly or unwillingly forward. But the present being in the present gives you the energy and the clarity and it's like refreshment and it helps you build energy and charge your batteries to move forward and to deal with whatever was left over from the past. So I find being in the present as much as possible, really important and I am a definite work in progress. I can't say I'm always in that space. But also a good analogy is like being in the present is a gift to yourself, a present to yourself. You know people say that, but it's to me it's like an oasis.

So if you're on this journey and you've got all that way behind you that you've come and you have you can't even see the horizon to where you're going. But that present moment is like a refreshing oasis that I really like to live there as often as possible but you know you have to keep moving to get there. Yeah, I mean it's it really is true um that you have to, it takes work. I mean, you know, it's not easy, no, it's not. But the more you practice it, the better you get at it. I find that's how I have reduced my pain is because I, you know when I was in that five years ago, in that state, I kept dwelling on the past and you know, what could I have done differently? And I finally stopped doing that and I'm in a much better state these days, much better state. That reminds me that you know, when you look in the past and say what could I have done different to make me healthier or better or more successful than I am now you have to come to and it's hard to come to a point of acceptance of where you are now and then build on that too.

And I think that I'm going to if it's okay, I'll read you the other thing Deepak chopra said in that same article, If you are present here and now you are in control. The ego makes a mistake by always trying to get its own way, putting up resistance or being right. Countless people think of those things as being in control in reality nothing throws you out of yourself like demanding to get what you want, resist other people and always having to be right, you know, so it's all how you think about things and your attitude. Exactly. There's a lot to be said for letting down resistance, just letting go and accepting things as they are and you'll find that you can flow more easily and be happier. That's a good word for it. You know, you can be in the flo bee in the flow. Exactly. Um, so there's lots of different ways to live in the present moment.

Um how how can we live in the present moment? One of the, well one thing I just read and I haven't read the book yet, but I just read about a book by cal Newport and it's uh practicing digital minimalism, which I know digital, the digital age, he coined that term, I guess the digital age offers so many tools that we could make our lives better, you know, like podcasts and things like that. But there's so much distraction at the same time and it makes us have a shorter attention span and you know, they're going to do studies about the effect of it honest. And honestly, if we can just be disciplined, we can use it to, it's to our advantage but not let it overwhelm us. Right? So that's one way because that's just everything around us now is all digital and in your face and streaming and we need to take a break from that every once in a while and just go outside and sit on the grass.

Exactly. I, you know, I just recently got a new phone as you know because my other one was, you know the battery was going bad and I had all of the notifications on for all the news things and for some reason when I transferred it or you know transferred all the data over from the iCloud, it didn't pick up that setting and so I have yet to turn those back. It's a nice break because I don't have to, you know, I don't have to, I mean I like to have that because I do like to look for the good stories. Not so much the bad stories, but there's so many bad stories. Um but that can be a big distraction. So that's helped me within the last last few days. I'm not getting those messages popping up on my screen. Exactly what other ways. Well I know that at the present moment the uses of the present moment, like when I think about that it, I think it's good for ourselves.

But it's also good because we serve others by being more in the moment and being present. And one way is that we are the more calm. We are, the more we can spread com well yeah, it's kind of like when, when you're around somebody that is calm and particularly if there's a lot of energy that's going on. But you can, you can kind of move to there that, that, that level of energy. Um it's it's interesting that you said that. Yeah. And then there's people who are calm but highly energetic and there's people who are calm and very still. So, you know, anybody can be in that moment and it does attract people and it does serve people because for instance, when I was working in a hospice, the effort of me just being in the moment and sitting with a patient, it reaped great rewards because the patient experience the peace.

I experienced the pieces very reciprocal and the people around us as well. And so that our animals really pick up on it when we're anxious or chaotic, they know too. But when we're calm they gravitate to us, I think they are very common in the moment. You know, and if you're anxious and they come and sit next to you and snuggle up there trying to help. That's true. I mean it has a ripple effect. It really does our actions and our thoughts and our behaviors have a ripple effect on others. So the more that we're conscious of how we're behaving, what we're thinking, how we're feeling, then I think that can influence positively when we make corrections. And it's kind of like for me when I think about one way that I live in the present moment is whenever I catch myself not living in the present moment, it's a wake up call, you know, it's like bring myself back to the present moment and it's not easy, but the more I practice it, the better I get at it.

And it's it's kind of like, and I think meditation really helps tremendously for me because you're practicing that muscle focusing focusing. Because being in the moment, it's really it's it's about focusing and it's not being in the moment is not just about being in a meditative state or being, you know, being aware of everything that's being around you, but it's focusing on something. Yes, and you're right, you've said that a few times and it's so important to have the discipline to do the practice and doing the practice just improves your ability to go there quicker and to stay there longer and to carry it with you. Exactly. And it's kind of like when you were referring to your photography and sitting there and watching the flower and being still, you were actually taking in and savoring the moment and trying to capture that for other people to get a little bit of it at the same time.

Exactly. I think musicians do that too, especially when they jam or if you're at a concert where you're just caught up in in the movement and the moment of the music and like that's another time where time expands and you don't want it to end. But Exactly, and the same with athletes that are in the zone to their experience is probably similar. Exactly. So some other tools and techniques to improve our present moment awareness. I think practice and also, I know a lot of people talk about journaling. I think journaling does bring you into the moment and, and you might look back at something you wrote and say, wow, I didn't even realize exactly what you are in the present moment because you're writing it and you're focusing on it. What about gratitude? Same thing, gratitude to Yeah. And and I think that's why I've been a volunteer coordinator for a long time. I think people who seek out volunteering are doing something to serve, but they're also trying to be and kind of in the moment because they're doing it out of the kindness of their heart usually and they are just jumping right in and saying, give me something to do.

Exactly. And you're not expecting anything out of it. So that's another area of definitely being in the moment. Well, I know another tool or technique that I have is I set mindful reminders, mindful moments in my calendar and my reminders, you know, throughout the day, it's sort of like a it pops up And um I said it for 11 am and three pm. Um and whenever it pops up most of the time unless I'm involved in a conversation or something or a phone call or I will take the time to stop everything, stop everything and take a mindful moment and I'll do it even when I'm eating lunch I'll just I'll take the time to chew my food, experience the food saver the food. Um It's not always easy to do that, but most of the time I can because I work from home.

So I think that's a big area that we in general have kind of lost the the art of is eating because whether the foods like fast food or beautifully cooked food, we tend to just eat it unmindful. E and so I think going back to that where you take your time, they talk about the mediterranean mediterranean diet and the culture of sitting for a couple of hours and eating. Or even when I go to the silent retreat meals are always in a beautifully decorated room with candles and it's all eaten in silence because you really can then focus and that's probably healthier for your body for digestion to yeah, it's so easy even in the evenings to just um not sit at the dinner table. I mean that just, I mean I don't know how many families do that today because it's everyone's got such a busy lifestyle. But I will say that my husband and I will take the time to sit and have a meal.

We don't always sit at the dinner table though sometimes we'll sit at our kitchen table or chopping block. But we try to make a point of doing that and we do that also in the morning we have we have we have the luxury now of of having breakfast together most mornings and for years and years and years we never had that luxury and you savor those moments, you know, it's that it's that time and he says he's always saying to me, I love these moments in the morning that we get to spend together because we never used to be able to spend together working so much. Well, another aspect of that is also silent, so I think it's good when you know, it's nice to have dinner music or but often people just have the tv on and if you can just really make it just about the meal and turn off everything else, all the externals, not just for meals, but in general not have it as the background noise.

Now some people that's that is okay with them and they're fine with having that distraction in the back, it helps them focus. I used to read and watch tv and probably do other things at the same time, but I think it's healthier to not multitask. I used to be proud of them being a multitasker no longer. I think it's a detriment actually well and the research shows that we don't we don't do any of those things well when we're doing them simultaneously and we perform better when we're really focused on one task at a time. And you know, I have to say even from my own standpoint, um I can be guilty of that, but I do prefer 2? And I think I'm conscious of it these days that I don't try to multitask because I know I perform better and there was something else I was going to say that I'm conscious of. What about silence? Well actually about the about the science behind the research, I mean there's a lot of body of research now around mindfulness that has demonstrated that it there's so many benefits to it, reducing anxiety, you know, reducing the stress, you know, improving your blood pressure, improving your overall happiness, level, your satisfaction, level, your outlook on life, your perspective.

It I think people who do practice being more mindful are happier people. I know I'm happier. Yeah, and I know I'm happier too and I know it's very much accepted now in businesses and also in science and medicine, you know as a tool. Exactly. And so that that's a good thing. And biofeedback goes back to when my dad was teaching me biofeedback and I thought, wow we can really control like blood pressure, you can really control with your mind and your breathing. Absolutely. There's a lot of power in that. So that brings us to a few parting questions or burning questions that I have and one is how do we create a balance because it can't be all bad um when we're thinking about the past and the future because we have to look to the future. So how do we how do we create that, that balance and still be in the present moment. You know, I think you just have to not dwell on either the past or the future and and try to be in the moment as much as possible, but take the lessons learned and the goal set and trying to bring them all together in the moment to I mean it can make for a rich present if you're you know, considering all those and not judging, not judging them, that's another big part of it is leave the judgment out, use the positive affirmations that, you know, I have accomplished things and I have not accomplished things, but that doesn't mean that I can't do more in the future and I'm happy where I am right now well, and I guess if we look at things that have happened in the past, it's all part of the learning experience is part of our journey and and we can make the most of that and the and the future is the future.

It doesn't mean that we can't plan for the future and we can think about the future. But you know, the present moment is the actions that we take and the thoughts that we have in the present moment. The launchpad Yes, the launchpad that dictate what our future reality or what our future perspective or what happens the outcomes are attitude makes a huge difference in that too. We don't want to be dwelling in anything negative when we're in the present and that's you know, I think people sometimes give up and don't think that there's anything in the future for them and that's this is their chance to really re like, redefine themselves to. Exactly. Well, this has been a great conversation. Um I is there anything else that you'd like to know? I think we should all just remember to the easiest tool that we have is right here in our bodies with our breath.

And it's not even something you have to think about. Your body is doing it automatically if you can just put your focus on it and then using the multiple number of techniques that are out there. Find the one that works for you, you know? Andrew veal has a wonderful technique. There's so many Deepak chopra has wonderful techniques. You can look up the, one of my favorite books that was really thin book for me at the time when I was in a hurry, was the lazy man's Guide to enlightenment. There's just so many good things out there tools that you can just look up, but basically it comes down to sit, stand or lay down and just pay attention to your breath. Exactly. Well, I think that's a great statement to close on and this has been a great conversation and I trust that our our listeners will get a lot out of what we've talked about today and we hope that that all of us can do a better job being in the present moment.

Yes, I really enjoyed it too. And I hope some of our listeners will write in and share some of their techniques so that we can then share them with the audience. Absolutely, and will provide all of the info that we talked about today in the show notes. Uh, so that everyone has that at their fingertips when they check out our podcast. Great, thank you carol. Thank you. This is great. Hey, there before you go, we hope today's show inspired you to believe in and tap into your own inner power to dig deep and rise up to your best and highest self. Just a few things Before we go, we'd be so grateful if you'd leave us a review on Itunes, because those reviews are important to our show and we'd love for you to subscribe to our podcast and please, if you, if you like the episodes, share the show with others on your favorite social media channels. And finally, are you rising up to your best self every day, Let us know more.

Let us know any tips and strategies you have by reaching out to us at www Hearts rise up dot com. Or you can email us at Hello at Hart's Rise up dot com. Thanks and bye for now, See ya on the next show. Bye bye

Ep. 8 - Pausing The Linear Flow of Time
Ep. 8 - Pausing The Linear Flow of Time
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