I’ve been attending this reoccurring event I found on Reddit called Skip the Small Talk. It’s where a group of strangers gather to talk to each other for two hours and the whole challenge is to skip the small talk and dive right into the juicy I-don’t-even-talk-to-my-friends-about-this type of conversations.
How it works is that you pair up with someone for 10 minutes and talk about whatever prompt you’re presented with. The prompts are either questions the organizer asks or questions you pull from a pile of prompt cards that are in front of you.
I attended an event this past Monday and one of the conversations I had was quite on par with what I’ve been exploring in Liz Lamoreux’s Water Your Soul course.
When presented with the question “What advice would you give your younger self?” my partner mentioned slowing down and not feeling the need to do and be everything for everyone. We talked about overachievement and how we both felt at a young age that that was what was expected of us—that constant hustle to do and be more than who we already are and how that sometimes leads to unhappiness. Because being a perfectionist and an overachiever, you’re constantly chasing more and are never quite satisfied with what you have now. The act of chasing pulls you out of the present.
It was here in our conversation that I brought up the idea of stillness.
Stillness—the act of intentionally pausing; of being mindful and present.
I told my partner that I feel like we’re all one of three people: either one focused on the future, stuck in the past, or living each day in the present. I don’t think either is good or bad but the latter is definitely ideal. I feel those who are constantly living for the future forget the good they have now, and those living in the past can’t recognize the good right in front of them. The balance between the two is living in the present. Being mindful of all you have and being grateful for it.
I struggle a lot with “living in the moment.” I wouldn’t be surprised if we all do. Life comes at us fast. There’s always something that we need to do, see, or take care of. It’s difficult dealing with what’s going on in your life plus what’s going on in the world. Sometimes we don’t have time to slow down and pause. And honestly, I don’t think we’ll ever have enough time. That’s where the intention comes in and when mindfulness comes to play. Like Ferris said, “If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
I’ve enjoyed exploring stillness, this intentional pause to take note of the things presently around me. I find it so hard to do living in a busy city like New York. There are just too many distractions and too much noise. Everything is always “go, go, go” and it feels odd to just stop. I personally struggle with being stuck in my past, something I work hard at being mindful of. My mind can sometimes spiral down that hurt hole and get stuck on what someone did to me or what awful luck I’ve had—things from my past that I never had any control over in the first place. I try to be mindful of this and I’ve noticed that practicing gratitude for what I have now often helps pull me out of that spiral.
I’ve learned that I need to take more time out of my day to pause. It’s almost like when you’re packing your bag for a huge trip. You’re on automatic as you’re packing but you always need to pause and take stock of what’s on your list. I think life is kind of like that. We should all pause and take stock of the greatness in our lives right at this moment. Because it’s far better than what we’ve lost or what we don’t have yet because it’s here.