“I wondered why I hadn’t loved that day more, why I hadn’t savoured every bit of it…why I hadn’t known how good it was to live so normally, so every day.
But you only know that, I suppose, after it’s not normal and every day any longer.” – Anna Quindlen
I love this quote, it tugs at my hearts strings reminding me that at any moment all can be lost.
I have the great fortune of working part time in the disability sector as a human rights advocate, and as I see daily how difficult some tasks are for people I have absolute gratitude for the simple act of being able to sip a cup of tea.
Mindfulness reminds us to “pay attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Russ Harris author of The Happiness Trap says that, “Mindfulness is paying attention with flexibility, openness and curiosity.”
David Harp author of Mindfulness To Go says that mindfulness is “a state of mind in which we can choose either to be fully aware on many different levels – whether physical, mental, or philosophical- at once, or to focus upon any of these various levels at will.”
Lets just take 3 everyday activities and practice them mindfully.
Having that Cup of Tea
It helps if you can find a quiet corner to settle into the warmth of your tea or coffee. If not just see if you can close your eyes for the briefest of seconds and inhale the aroma. Cup your hands around your mug, this act alone feels like a warm hum, so nurturing especially when it is cool. Notice the warmth as you bring the cup towards you lips, the anticipation in your mouth, yes yes its about to happen! (can you tell I’m a tea addict). Then sip and savour and repeat.
You only need to go camping for a few days to have a renewed appreciation for a long, (well I know 3 minutes is the max these days) hot shower. I love the feeling of water caressing the top of my scalp, those first few moments as it makes its tingly way through the top of your head and through your hair, so sensual and relaxing. I love the smells in the shower, (unless you have actually been camping for two weeks). I delight in yummy soaps, I’ve got sandalwood at the moment so I let that smell excite my senses, shampoo and body wash too. Exfoliating is a great mindfulness practice, gently scrubbing each area of the body in turn, feeling fresh and alive.
Mindful walking especially barefoot on the grass is so grounding. But even when getting from A to B make it an experience. Feel all the subtle nuances of what is taking place in your muscles as you propel forward through life. Walking is also a great opportunity for inward reflection, “walk it off” as they say. I’m not talking Forest Gump people, just take the time to notice when you are walking what’s happening around you, the sights and smells and what’s happening inside you physically and emotionally.