Every day we do things that we don’t truly experience. We shower, but spend it thinking about the day behind/ahead rather than noticing the water’s temperature or pressure, or the smell of the soap. We drive, but spend the time daydreaming rather than paying real attention to our surroundings or the sensations in our body. We eat, but we shove the food down our throats and move onto another activity without really taking the time to taste the flavours in our meals.
While we might not have time to box in Mindfulness practice, we can work on being mindful during these every day activities. I’ve been working on that during this week. Paying attention to my hands gripping the steering wheel, how I’m sat in the seat and the different colours of the cars around me. Blocking out my thoughts while I shower and focusing on the scent of the soap and shampoo, changing the temperature/pressure of the water and listening to the sound of the water crashing into the bathtub beneath my feet. Taking the time to savour every different hint of flavour in my food and seeing how many ingredients I can identify. All of these practises are being mindful – and it doesn’t take any extra time because I’m working them into my daily routine.
Our daily routine is another place where we can be mindful. Each of us follows subconscious routines without realising it: we put our trousers on a certain leg first, we brush our teeth with the same hand, we use the same mug in the mornings. These are routines which we’ve adopted without even noticing! By paying attention to these things and perhaps changing them around every so often, we can take control of our routines and thus better accustom ourselves to changes in our lives.
Why not give it a go this week? Wear your watch on the wrong arm, use a different shampoo, swap the order of your breakfast and shower around. How does it feel? If you are brave enough to give this a go please drop me a line, I’d love to hear about it.