.I was so lucky this week to enjoy a day full of new experiences by visiting new places.  When I say ‘new’ places they weren’t really, they have been there, on my doorstep, for quite some time but I didn’t make the effort to go.  It was particularly interesting how I began using NLP techniques to re-frame my view of the day when I began to feel a little guilt for enjoying myself.

Living near Whitley Bay I’m fortunate to have the seaside with the beautiful beaches of Tynemouth, Cullercoats and Whitley Bay.  The wonderful city of Newcastle upon Tyne is only a few miles away and there’s easy access to the beautiful coast and countryside of Northumberland.  I spent the day in Ouseburn in Newcastle, visiting a wonderful place called 7stories.  This attraction celebrates children’s literature in a fun and interactive way – ideal for children of all ages.   Yes, I confess that is my teddy bear in the photos.  I enjoyed my first ever vegan meal at the very welcoming Ship Inn, Ouseburn and then wandered across the road to spend some time at Ouseburn farm.

These lovely new experiences led me to a number of realisations.

Firstly, I want to do more for me.

There.  I’ve said it.  Just for me.  We can become so wrapped up in the day to day routine that we forget that we can gain so much by taking care of ourselves. Sometimes that means switching off the emails and phone and doing something that you’ll enjoy or try something new or different.  Just have some fun! Hmmm, I can feel the thought beginning – but isn’t this being selfish?   It’s time for me to recognise that these experiences in and of themselves don’t have any meaning other than the one I give them. So let me re-frame them as I would in NLP.  Let me use NLP to change my perspective.

This is simply taking care of myself, because I deserve to have me take care of me!  Each one of us deserves to have this self-care and without it we limit how much we can truly contribute to the world. This would be a great shame as we all have lots of wonderful gifts to offer. Not taking the time to carry out this self-care, surely that would be the truly selfish act?

Secondly, I noticed that I was completely engaged in each activity throughout the day.

Each conversation with my friend received my complete attention, each mouthful of Jungle Curry filled my senses.  My focus was on what was happening in each moment, truly living in each moment of the day.  I wasn’t consciously practising mindfulness.  There wasn’t any particular effort to keep my mind from wandering away from the present. I simply occupied the present and enjoyed it for what it was, without any mental narrative or judgement.  I felt completely relaxed and at ease, felt like the authentic me.  So why was this? I feel that it was because these were new experiences.  I hadn’t been to this area before, hadn’t visited these attractions before; hadn’t eaten this type of food before.

Was it because my conscious mind was fully employed in the actual experience of new activity and maximising my enjoyment from them? Was my unconscious mind fully occupied in processing all the new experiences and storing them appropriately?  Did the fact that the conscious and unconscious mind were both working hard  mean there wasn’t any room for mischief mind to jump in with distracting chatter?  I honestly don’t know the answer.  I’m now curious to find out what will happen the next time I have a day of new experiences.  If it was so effortless when the activities were new to me I’m wondering why it can feel so effortful during routine tasks.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this; what have you noticed regarding your attention when enjoying new experiences?