2020 has presented us with some unique challenges. Over the course of one workday, my living room turned into my remote work station. What was once my Sunday lounging movie zone now hosts my two work monitors. My small home has been further subdivided in order to accommodate my housemates’ daily work routines, which now take place at a minimum of six feet apart. What began as a quaint three person home has now dwindled to a quarantine zone.
Unique situations like this drive us to pick a perspective. Your daily routine and outlook are inevitably altered. Life is different. Within this change lies a great deal of personal autonomy. Your attitude determines your reaction to a disturbance in what you are used to. There are unlimited ways to positively affect your perspective. Oftentimes, it is the little things that can bring the most change.
Personally, I’ve brought about positive change through music. Three minutes of any John Prine song can reorient my attitude for the day. Setting my alarm five minutes earlier will afford me enough time to listen to a simple song on my back porch, which can make all of the difference on a rainy Monday. Try it for yourself. It takes hardly any sacrifice but can bring about some huge results. You can even take it a step further. Try learning a special song on an instrument. These days, you’ve got some time!
Previously, I think I took sunsets for granted. In a typical work routine, I lost my appreciation for that ten minute break in time where the sun waves goodnight to the world. Each day ends with a unique explosion of colors. Guess what – it’s free to watch! I failed to recognize that every sunset is a gift.
When I led our Hawaiian Islands trip this past summer, I made sure that, every day, I stepped out of my tent, oriented my body towards the rising sun, and took in one big, intentional breath with my hands held over my head. I didn’t think much of this practice until the rest of my group decided to join me. This became one of my favorite parts of our day. My entire day was changed by five seconds of deliberate action. Our group bonded over this one group breath. We took it a step further and said goodnight to the moon with a similar practice every night. I think this is a great example of Moondance’s motto: Live in the Moment. In that moment, we thought of nothing else. None of the anxieties that I felt at home could touch me. All I felt was pure joy with my students around me. We were living in the moment!
Now, under the constraints of a “shelter in place” mentality, I’m reminded of the value behind that daily practice. This extends beyond greeting the sun. Now, I once again appreciate the value of a fifteen minute walk around the block. I’m reminded how much mental clarity you can gain from sweeping your kitchen floor or organizing the t-shirt pile in the back corner of your room. I feel the positive effects of a deep breath with my eyes closed. As I think back on my highlights of each day, these small moments put a smile on my face. They come at no cost.
My challenge to you is to find your own small practices of mindfulness. They don’t need to carry a label. They can just be something you do. All that matters is that you give it a shot. If you find something that works, send it our way on Instagram! We’re always looking for new ways to improve our day.
– Stewart Roddey, Moondance HQ
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