Mindful Monday21 December 2020
Start by listing as many daily activities as you can think of in a few minutes. Think of things that you do daily, but also something you might do to alleviate boredom, acts of self-care, activities you might think of as chores, and generally things you enjoy to do when you are relaxing at home. Anything from picking out your clothes for the day, to making your breakfast/lunch/tea, exercising or stretching, going for a walk, having a cup of tea, watering the plants, or having a nice hot bath.
Write down this list of daily opportunities for mindfulness in a diary or notepad, something that will stay relatively close to hand. Next, each day, find time within the daily structure to have 20-30 minutes or so of dedicated Mindfulness Time.
Use this to break up the day if you’re working from home. Perhaps it’s a grounding way to start the day if you’re stuck at home with little to do or an excellent way to re-focus in the afternoon. Look at your list of daily opportunities and choose an activity you will carry out with intention and complete awareness. Consciously choose to be wholly focused on every detail of the activity at hand, absolute attention, being mindful of every facet of the task.
From boiling the kettle and preparing the tea, notice all the sensory details. The sound as the kettle heats the water. Note the steam rising from the spout, the feeling of the mug- it’s weight and the coolness. The physical appearance and the sound of the teaspoon clinking as you stir it. The way the liquid moves in the cup, as the colours change, swirling into one another, the warmth of the mug between the hands, the steam, the aroma, how it feels inside the mouth and on the tongue, hot, warm, sweet, bitter, creamy, whatever the taste may be, immerse yourself in every detail.
Next, expand this sensory awareness, explore what you can see out of the window, what you can hear, explore the textures and sensations of the armchair, sofa, whatever supports you as you sit. Take your awareness to the points of contact, sitting bones on the chair, maybe the soles of the feet connecting to the floor. Whilst you are doing all of this, connect with the breath, breathing slightly more deeply, feel the breath in the nostrils as you inhale, and the gush of air as you exhale, feel the belly expand as you breathe in, deflating as you breathe out. Breathe in peace on the inhalation, and surrendering to the relaxation on the exhalation. Notice the mind beginning to calm, observe the feeling of relaxation in the body, become aware of the sense of stillness emanating from within. Maybe you can feel the heart beating, perhaps even the blood pumping—complete awareness.
Maintain the feeling of peace and stillness once you move on from the activity and go about your day. Imagine it as a bubble, your bubble of serenity, how long until the noise of the day bursts it?
You can apply this process to any activity and make it one of mindfulness and presence. The central idea is to practice absolute awareness, focusing your attention on all the small sensory details of the task, rather than just remaining on auto-pilot, mind relentless drifting from one thought to the next, as you mindlessly carry out a given activity.
When you practice having sustained attention in this way, you may begin to notice that you are more in control of the mind, rather than the mind running away with itself. As your efficiency develops in applying these simple mindfulness techniques to everyday situations, hopefully, you will feel more grounded, less anxious, be filled with more peace and contentment, and ultimately feel calmer. Calm is a super-power and stillness is the best gift you can give yourself. So give it a go now, stick the kettle on and immerse yourself completely, exploring all the details you can notice and begin to live in a more considered, present, mindful way.
“Stillness is your essential nature…You are awareness, disguised as a person.” (Eckhart Tolle)