Many years ago, someone suggested I look at the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh, in particular his book Present Moment, Wonderful Moment. Born in Hue, Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk, poet, scholar, and human rights activist. In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize (although no prize was awarded that year).
Present Moment, Wonderful Momentis a collection of gathas, mantra like phrases designed to help one become more aware of the present action and less distracted by the nonsense in one’s mind. The gathas follow the passage of the day, from waking up through making food and tea and all kinds of other things from using the telephone to smiling at your anger and everything in between. One of my favorites is Turning on the Light, and using this as a touch point for centering myself throughout the day. It goes like this:
Forgetfulness is the darkness;
mindfulness is the light.
I bring awareness
to shine upon all life.
The older I get, the more critical it becomes to being as alive and present in the moment as possible, how ever impossible that often feels. Tuning in to a touch point, a place where I pause and try to feel every atom in my body definitely helps me to at least try to remember to stay in the present. While I have a very long way to go before I am fully present all the time, Present Moment, Wonderful Moment helps me find a way. You can use the book as inspiration to create your own gathas, mantras, little prayers that you say when you are doing a certain activity–to help ritualize and keep sacred the little acts that keep us going.