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Our experiences in life depend upon our quality of "participation" – how much are we truly involved in what we do ?
Whether it is spending time with our families or at a meeting at the workplace - the truth is that we are always distracted
We are always multi-tasking ( or trying to )
We are even multi-thinking ( thinking about too many parallel things at the same time ), right ?
When in office, we are already thinking of the next meeting
At home, our minds are on office to-do’s for the next day
On weekends, we are already planning for the next week !
And so on....
When you go for a movie or a restaurant – you can see people are on phones, even though they have actually come for a different experience
In most cases, our participation in life is usually very superficial, whether it is personal or professional lives
Participation simply means being fully present in the moment, paying your utmost attention to the person or activity at that moment, as if nothing is more important to you in that moment
Participation means being fully involved – mentally, physically, emotionally
Why is this act of participation so important ?
For one, it helps you to focus on just one thing at a time
Secondly, it helps you experience the activity or event the way it should truly be experienced
Thirdly, it helps you build deeper and meaningful relationships
Last but not the least, it’s also an important aspect of mindfulness and self-care
When you participate more, get involved more, you generate a greater level of self-awareness not just about yourself, but also about your environment in which you operate every day
You observe more. You absorb more
So, how can you start participating more in life ?
Try the simple ritual below:
1) Select a date and a meal of the day
2) Select a restaurant slightly far away from your office/home
3) Go alone. That’s important. No family. No friends
4) Leave your phone back ( or switch off once you reach the restaurant )
5) Sit alone and order your meal. Pick up something you relish the most ( or something you have not tried before )
6) Spend next 30-45 min savoring the meal. Involve all senses. Feel the texture of the food - its aroma, taste, flavors.
7) Eat slowly. Don’t rush
8) Don’t talk to anyone. Just be with your own self and your meal
9) Pay attention to the environment around you. Listen to sounds – the AC humming, people chatting, crockery crackling….
10) When you are done with your meal, leave a generous tip
Believe me, it's an amazing experience!
It's a simple ritual which you can build as a practice towards mindfulness and self-care
If a meal is not possible, then go for a cup of tea/coffee, but follow the above steps
Apply this principle to everything in life
Don't wait. Start participating now !