The word mindful is becoming more and more popular. There are conversations on morning TV, articles in newspapers, there's even a magazine called "Mindful", but are we really making an effort to be mindful or is it just an interesting idea in a overwhelming world.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary.com defines mindful as:
1: bearing in mind : aware be mindful of how you use your power — Ayesha Grice
2: inclined to be aware a stirring and important book for all mindful Americans — New Republic
Do you drive somewhere and when you arrive realize you have no memory of the drive, do you have a conversation with someone and can barely recall the details of what they said, do you walk out of church without the slightest clue what the sermon was about?
We tend to walk around the world today preoccupied. Preoccupied with our phones, music, grocery list, work, and overall thoughts. Even the things we are preoccupied with get pushed out of our minds for some other chatter.
What do you do about it? Being mindful is not the same as meditation. Both are excellent practices. But for today, let's focus on mindfulness.
Again, to be mindful is to be aware. A few days ago I wrote about mindful eating. This concept works for every area in our lives. It can mean taking the time to use your senses and make a practice of it.
I recommend picking a time each day to be mindful. For example. If you can take 10 to 20 minutes in the morning. Find a comfortable place to sit. Look - what do you see, look at everything in detail, Listen - what do you hear? Do you hear birds, or a garbage truck, the ice maker or silence. Smell - what scents do you pick up? Is coffee brewing or breakfast cooking, maybe a candle burning? Touch - What do your clothes feel like, or the chair, couch or floor that your sitting on, is it hard or soft? Taste - Do you have any sensation of taste in your mouth? Are you drinking a cup of coffee or a glass of water or juice? Is it sweet, bitter or bland?
Feel the calmness of the moment. Think of this moment as your first ever in this position, as if you are a child discovering your senses for the first time. After 10 to 20 minutes, notice your mood. Do you feel a calmness, a peace? Can you enter the day with a new refreshed perspective?
Try this for a week, once you've developed an awareness of the present moment you can start thinking about using this skill throughout your day. Drive without the music on and pay attention to your surroundings, notice the trees and the other cars around you. Take a walk without your phone, make dinner and notice your rhythm as you prepare the meal, really look at the foods, notice the texture, smell and enjoy tasting some of the vegetables as you chop. Even as you wash the dishes, feel the texture of the soap, notice the bubbles as they rise and pop, look at the beautiful dishes as they are cleaned, smell the fresh scent of the detergent. Try taking a shower and noticing everything about it, the pressure of the water, the scent of your shampoo, notice how the soap bubbles and the water drains.
It won't be easy, you'll be surprised how often your mind wanders. But, once you begin to train your mind to be present, everyday events will be opportunities to expand your mind in calmness and live in the now, instead of the past or future. You can feel less anxious, more clear and more conscious of yourself and the world around you.
Give it a try and let me know what happens - I am confident I will be hearing great stories!
Wishing you Grace, Peace & Healthy Living,