How much time do we spend living in the past? Mulling on old memories and previously lodged emotions? And how much time do we take out of our day dreaming about the future? Projects we've yet to undertake or prospects we've only begun to consider? I found out that I do both quite frequently and have been striving to break this annoyingly fortified habit.
Unfortunately, and as many others have learned, it isn't an easy task to undertake. As a dreamer I'm frequently in my own little world, creating vast expanses of imaginary worlds and building on them with characters, dramas and the like. I enjoy doing this, I'm a writer after all, and what better to spend my days doing than envisioning new ideas and realities to enjoy and share with others?
But what about the rest of the time? I continuously chide myself, noting how often I decide to relive an event I didn't enjoy in an effort to figure out what went wrong. Or perhaps I take the time to go over a conversation I plan to have with someone, which may or may not happen at all. I do these things constantly, becoming the worrier that I promised myself I wouldn't inherit from my mother's side.
Tell me, does this sound at all like you?
And what really interests me? When we try to come back to the present and stay there...how long does it take for our minds to begin to wander?
I've tested myself over the course of a commute home.
I didn't even last a minute.
But that is exactly the reality I face, a very difficult realty I'm striving to change.
So, how exactly can I change it? It starts with practice, as all things do when we want to shake up our lives. And what exactly is the practice? The practice is spelling! Yes, that's right, spelling.
Sounds easy? Not when the next step is spelling the word backwards.
I chose "Mindful" for my first word, ironically. And so on my way home I was spelling the word forwards and then "Lufdnim", which pretty much kept my attention focused on the road and on the word. It was pretty interesting, noting the results.
I did this over and again until I noticed my thoughts wandering again, upon which I would select a new word. It was fun, easy to do and helped me remember a few words I'd forgotten how to spell.