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Live Brilliantly NOW

Goals. I have always been a goal-oriented person. Prepare for the test. Practice toward the recital. Work to get ahead. In my zeal to prepare, many of the actions I am taking today are infused with tomorrow. I have recently realized that I may spend much of my current actions mindless of the momentary significance and joy.

The future belongs to those who learn from the past

and live brilliantly in the present moment.

Debasish Mridha

I want to learn to take hold of the future by living brilliantly in the present.

Marissa Widdison points out that making time for quiet moments is more than just a trendy self-help tip.

From her article The Power of Quiet Moments Church Magazines

I was walking along a crowded street when the patch of heaven appeared.

It was during a summer internship in an unfamiliar city, and I was stressed, tired, and lonely. My thoughts ran along a familiar trail of checklists and self-doubts. Honestly, I felt like crying.

That’s when sunshine sliced through the trees ahead of me, flashing just enough to get my attention. I stopped walking. And, more importantly, I stopped thinking and let myself absorb the beauty of the scene. That brief pause was enough for God to work with. I heard in my heart a message from Him: “You know I love you, right?” The healing words flowed through me like warm honey.

Since that day, I’ve learned that the pausing sensation I experienced is something that can be practiced. Some people call it “mindfulness” or “meditation.” In the scriptures and in Church we often learn about being still (see Psalm 46:10) or pondering. I’ve come to use the term “quiet moments” to describe this pause, which creates space for us to recognize impressions, accept reality, and connect to the present instead of focusing on past regrets or future anxieties—often inviting the Spirit as a result.

Could practicing quiet moments bless your life?

Noting what you are doing right now and the effect that it is having on your body can help. What are the physical ingredients I am experiencing around and through me. More from Marissa:

Quiet Moments and Our Bodies

The more we learn about our bodies, the more we understand why quiet moments are a powerful tool.

“God has designed the amazing human body,” said Cameron Hatch with Latter-day Saint Charities, who spent years teaching refugees and others about the benefits of mindfulness. He pointed out that just breathing deeply can have an immediate positive effect. As we breathe in and out, the movement of our lungs and diaphragm helps our body stop secreting stress hormones.

And studies suggest that when we regularly invite quiet moments over time, our brains may actually change. In one study, participants practiced a mindfulness exercise regularly for eight weeks. Doctors found that the areas of the brain associated with fear and stress seemed to shrink in those participants—perhaps meaning that they were less used.1 Another study found that after regular mindfulness, the part of the brain associated with decision-making seemed to grow thicker.

Besides helping us feel better overall, why does this matter spiritually? It seems that quiet moments may help us use our agency more wisely by creating a space between what is happening, how we feel, and how we choose to react.

Setting aside time to be quiet can help. I know I do not do enough of that. We CAN look for thing we already do and try to be mindful and in the moment while we do them.

Quiet Moments in Our Routine

Quiet moments and pondering don’t need to be separate from the habits we are already encouraged to practice ... Here are a few ideas for weaving quiet moments into your ...daily routine:

Prayer. Try setting aside quiet time before and after the structured part of your prayer for thoughts and feelings to come and go. Notice what comes into your mind and heart.

Exercise. Some of the most influential promptings of my life came while lap swimming. The rhythmic movement of exercise can make it easier to notice thoughts and feelings without holding on to them too tightly. Many people find it healing to go outside and connect with the sights, smells, and sounds of nature.

Chores. I once heard a woman describe how she used the chore of washing dishes to invite meaningful quiet moments. She would breathe deeply, feel the warm water on her hands, notice light glinting off soap bubbles, and let thoughts and feelings come and go.

Eating and cooking. For some people, preparing and eating a meal can invite a quiet moment. Take time to admire the color and texture of your food, the smell and taste. Even Cookie Monster nowadays encourages kids to look at the cookie, smell the cookie—and only then eat the cookie!

Worship services. The silence during [a worship service] can be opportunities to relax your mind and body and ask for to heal.

So, please, give quiet moments a try! Breathe deeply, notice what is real, and let your thoughts and feelings come and go. Try to make room in your heart and mind ...I hope that in these quiet moments, you know that you are loved.

Breathe, Check In, Repeat

Here’s a simple way to practice a quiet moment:

1. Sit in a comfortable position.

2. Breathe in and out, incorporating a simple movement as you do so. For example, tighten your fists as you breathe in, and relax your hands as you breathe out.

3. Ask yourself, “How am I feeling?”

4. Be aware of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

5. Let your thoughts and feelings come and go. It may help to picture them as leaves floating away on water, or clouds drifting across the sky. Relax.

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