One of my students told me that the much of his day was spent on boring household tasks such as dusting and vacuuming. We began exploring the possibility of becoming more mindful while performing them.
Our boring chores are as much as part of the day as exciting events, so why not bring the same attention to them?
You might be surprised at how much more you get out of being present and participating, rather than mindlessly getting them over with.
Try this for the next time you clean, dust, iron or sweep:
- Take a few breaths.
- Look at what needs to be done.
- Pick a place to begin.
- With each movement, watch the object you are cleaning change.
- Notice your body as you are working and if you are uncomfortable shift your alignment.
- Continue to notice each step of the process until you finish.
- Now, look at the end result while taking a few breaths.
- Notice how you feel.
Give this a try and let me know in the comments below if you were able to be mindful of your task. What was your experience of being present when you stayed with the process? If it did not change, what do you think got in the way?
There are times in conversation when we are thinking about our response before the other person is finished speaking.
We interrupt without thinking, which is frustrating and dismissive to those around us. Often it is a knee jerk reaction and the thought is out before you catch yourself.
When this happens, our minds have left the moment.
If we are thinking about something else while another is speaking, we are no longer present in the conversation.
Try some mindful listening:
- While the person is speaking, feel your feet on the floor.
- If you feel the urge to speak, focus on your breathing to guide yourself back to what the person is saying.
- Make eye contact while you are listening.
- Have a 5 second rule before you speak (that is my husband's suggestion!)
- If you are unsure about something stop and ask them what they mean, rather than feeling lost in the conversation.
Let me know in the comments below how this works for you. If it did not work, what do you think happened?
There are times in our lives where things are going along smoothly – The job, family, friends are all doing well, but there is something missing: The Fireworks!
No matter how many times we watch fireworks on the 4th of July, each time they hold excitement. They are powerful, colorful, fun and no two are exactly the same.
We can create that in our own lives, but we need to leave our comfort zone of our familiar, safe, enjoyable routines. Whether doing projects in the home, socializing or relaxing we get into a rut and eventually boredom sets in.
Routine can be spiced up with some simple changes. Try this next time you have a household project:
- Stay present in the experience of what you are doing, rather than “getting through” it.
- Put on upbeat music to perk up the experience.
- Take short enjoyable breaks and give yourself a tasty snack or beverage.
- Plan some play time later in the day or evening.
- Make sure your plan includes something new- maybe a restaurant in an area of town you do not usually go to.
Create fireworks in your life that fills you up from the inside-out.
Let me know in the comments below what you tried and how it worked. If you did not make any changes, what do you think got in your way?
I heard a funny definition of balance: It is the place you pass as you go from one extreme to the other. There is much truth in that.
Why is it so difficult to live life in balance? What gets in our way?
It is our minds constant state of urgency and it throws us off balance. We end up “doing”, rather than “experiencing”. We tell ourselves that we have to or should get it done and we neglect other things that need our attention.
We live on autopilot and miss out on our day.
Everything we need to get accomplished throughout our day can be done mindfully. Balancing play, work, family is vital to living a full life filled with inner calm and joy.
It takes a commitment to change habits and priorities.
Try this: Turn off the computer and cell phone for a half hour and be fully present with family or leisure,
See how you feel. Let me know in the comments below what you did and how it worked.
Human connection is important to our well being.
We lose sight of this when we ignore those who are right in front of us.
We have all checked out from a purchase while we were on our cell phone,disregarding the clerk. As cell phones have become a way of life, we ignore and discount who is helping us.
We do not realize the impact this has on ourselves and others.
Each day we encounter someone helping us- the cashier in the store, the bagger, the server at the restaurant, the toll booth attendant. Each one is an opportunity for human connection.
Looking someone in the eye is a way of acknowledging their presence as another human being.
It is a simple, easy way to relate to another person and has a powerful impact.
Try this next time you are at the check- out line, or toll booth.
- Put your phone away if you are on line, or turn down your radio if you are in a car.
- Turn and look at the person in the eye.
- Thank them.
- Wish them a nice day
It only takes a moment and the rewards will trickle throughout the day.
Let me know how this worked for you in the comments below. How did it feel? How did the person respond?
Many times the items on our to-do list are done mindlessly on auto-pilot. We try to get our errands out of the way so we can enjoy the rest of the day.
We rush away part of our day and we weren’t even present for it. How much time do we spend on a daily basis getting our errands or tasks over with?
When we live this way we close the door on opportunities to enjoy ourselves.
The mundane day to day living is just as much as a part of life as the sports, luncheon or vacation you are participating in.
Try this the next time you are in the supermarket:
- Go to the produce isle.
- Stand and look around taking in the total scope of what is in front of you.
- Walk around and focus on the colors, textures, shapes and smells.
- While going down the other aisles, continue to focus on the displays, colors, shapes, people you pass and whatever else comes into view.
- When checking out, look at your items as you put them on the counter.
Notice your state of mind after you finish.
Let me know in the comments below what your experience of shopping was. Was it different from usual? Did you notice anything new? If it was a challenge, tell me what happened.
“Much of human misery is caused by the fact that we live our lives mechanically, never properly attending to what it is to be alive.” -Georgei Guridieff
This powerful quote sums up what all great traditions refer to when they speak about awakening.
To be awake means to be completely conscious, to be aware of yourself and your surroundings.
So, what really is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the non-judgmental awareness of the moment.
The core point here is non-judgment. Think about it- when we judge, where is that judgment coming from? It comes from our experiences and those experiences are from the past. It comes from our mind.
In the moment, you are present to what is happening and when you are present, you are not thinking about situations or sensations that cause stress or pain. This is the ultimate practice. You begin to embrace your experiences and there is a deep freedom and sense of aliveness that comes with that.
Do you live life in the moment?
The morning or evening shower. Some days we rush thorough it and on other days we enjoy it. We shower to get clean, but there is more to it than that.
Have you ever taken a shower and forgot how many times you have shampooed? Maybe you have showered and you were thinking about an upcoming meeting, or reviewing the list of things you had to do for the family.
Whatever it was you were thinking about, it has kept you from enjoying the feeling of the water on your body, or the warmth when you rinse the lather of shampoo out of your hair, or even belting out a tune.
You were showering alone, but there was entire committee there with you!
Allow yourself to enjoy the simple pleasures in your routine and you will be amazed with how you feel. Your shower will refresh you in a whole new way.
What do you think about when you shower?