Bringing Mindfulness to Life

sunlight-pexels

I awaken…and immediately beging to mentally list all of the things to do, then I stop, and remind myself to be aware of the light. I look out the window and look at the day. It is bright and beautiful and I make a mental note to make sure I allow some outdoor time today, even though it is still cool and crisp.

As I go through my morning routine, I find my mind starting to wander again to the day’s list. This list is usually comprised of more things than I can reasonably accomplish. Once again I remind myself to be in the moment. “You are brushing your teeth,” I tell myself. “Be in the brushing.”

I wend my way through the hall and downstairs to prepare coffee, my morning indulgence, although without caffeine, and I enjoy the aroma of the grounds and the sparkle of sunlight through the window. While the coffee brews, I wipe the sink clean and take a moment to enjoy the shine while I pour my coffee.

I settle at my desk with pen and pad and my previous day’s list, adding anything I think may be of importance. Then I give myself just a few things to do. It’s my hot list for the day and contains only what absolutely must be done and a small number of other things I’d like to accomplish. Once this is done, I carry the hot list in my pocket, and refer to it as the day progresses. I do not even look at the Master List again until the next morning. If anything occurs during the day that needs my immediate attention, I write it on the bottom of the hot list. As I think of other tasks or appointments I write them on the back of the Hot List and will add them to the Master List the next day. Choosing only a few things that have to be done and looking at the Master List each morning while enjoying my coffee helps me to prioritize which allows me to “be in the moment” of whatever else it is I am doing for the day.
As my mind’s natural bent is to race forward, this has taken some practice. Slowing down is not what the world preaches today. We are encouraged to be fast-paced multi-taskers, and there is a cost to that. Our stress levels are sometimes off the charts, and unrelenting stress can cause permanent health damage (a post for another day).

We do have lives that are full, and usually have a lot to accomplish. It needn’t be overwhelming. We don’t have to go full speed ahead all the time. We can do one thing at a time and enjoy the moment for what it is, be it work or pleasure. Even an unpleasant task can be made more tolerable by looking at it with new perspective. Putting the unpleasant things at the top of the list will get them out of the way first, enabling you to better enjoy the rest of your day.

Being aware of our surroundings…on the drive to the office, for example, can give us bursts of joy to carry us through a day. Instead of trying to think of all the things you need to do when you get there, be in the driving and be aware of your surroundings. Notice the sun rising in the sky, maybe the smell of the rain, or that chocolate factory you pass every day. Witness the fact that the lady that lives in the farmhouse that you don’t even know has planted flowers, and you get to enjoy them too. Oh, and yes…be in the driving!

Part of being mindful is to organize those potential distractions early in the day so they don’t keep interrupting you. Some people I know like to do this before bed so they can start the next day fresh. I admit as nice as this sounds to me, by the end of the day my brain sometimes doesn’t want to play. You’ll find a system that works well for you, I’m sure. If you already have a system, please share it with us.

Peace and light and joy to you in your moments! I’d love to know about them…

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