thought of the day

#mantras

I’ve always liked the idea of mantras.  Depending on where you look, the definition of mantra can be very spiritual or pretty prosaic – it’s a sacred utterance or it’s a statement or word repeated frequently.  For me, it’s often a resolution – it’s a phrase that reminds me of who I am, and how I want to live my day-to-day life.  Often, it’s a quote from someone I admire, which I look to for guidance with the little things in life.

My mantra changes, depending on what’s happening in my life – what I’m working on, the specific challenges I’m facing, etc.  Different mantras have fit best at different points in my life.

rooted1. “I am rooted, but I flow.” – Virginia Woolf

This is one of my current mantras.  I have roots, and my life and choices and personality are rooted in the things in my life that are constant – children, my family, New York, writing, books, and running.  Yet I also want to go with the flow of my life, the flow of the universe – my roots keep me grounded, and letting go helps me to flow.letgo

2. Let go and let it be.  (Or, let go and let God.)

My instinct is usually to act – I want to fix a problem, I want to DO SOMETHING.  If I’m sad, I want to go buy something or eat something to make myself feel better.  If I’m overwhelmed, I want to go perform a task that gives me the illusion of control.  I am realizing that most of the time, if I am searching for the next right thing to do, the answer is frequently this: do nothing.  Wait, be still, and let it be.

3. Do one thing at a time, fully.

I have a tendency to multi-task.  When I was younger, I watched TV while I did my homework; now, I listen to a podcast while I’m making the bed.  I don’t think that this is always a bad thing to do.  However, I dislike the feeling of needing to be distracted – which, many times, is what I’m doing.  To be fully engaged in a mundane task means my thoughts might wander or that I’d have to be okay with silence – and I can’t always allow that.  do_one_thing_at_a_time

Throughout the past two or three years, I’ve grown a lot in my ability to be mindful.  I watch less TV – I allow for quiet time, and even relish it occasionally – and I’ve had a semi-regular meditation practice.  Sometimes, when I feel scattered or overwhelmed, like my mind, my body, and my soul are flying all over the place, in every direction, I utilize this mantra – do one thing at a time, fully – and it helps me to get my feet back on the ground.

3. Live in the moment.

This year, it’s been especially challenging to observe this maAE-LiveInTheMomentntra, or resolution, whatever you want to call it.  I get caught up in worrying about or anticipating the future, rather than staying in the moment.  This is a mantra in the same family as do one thing at a time, fully, but with a subtle distinction.  This is about reacting to what’s happening right now, in my life.  It doesn’t mean I don’t think about the future, but I keep myself in the here and now.

4. The best way of life is to be, simply be. (OR, keep it siphoto-4mple!)

The first time I read these words – The best way of life is to be, simply be – was on a Yogi tea bag.  🙂

I took the little tag and I taped it to my computer at work.  Again, this mantra is related to another – this mantra reminds me to wait, to be still, and not to always feel  compelled to react or fix things.  I try to remind myself to keep things simple and to take one day (one hour, one minute, one second) at a time.

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