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mind fullness

10 Little Things to Do With Mindful Awareness

The more I practice mindful awareness, the more I learn what it is and what it isn't. What it isn't is hours spent in the lotus position, eyes closed, blissfully deep in meditation.

What it is is beautifully summed up by my husband, "It's the little things."

I wear and don't wear glasses. What I mean is that I have them off as often as I have them on. When they're not perched on my nose, I usually have no idea where they are. That's because I mindlessly put them down and, when I want to perch them on my nose again, have no memory of where I put them.

Mindfulness is the opposite of "mind fullness." It's the ability to focus on exactly what is happening at the moment - even something so little as taking off my glasses. Although multi-tasking seems productive in theory, it has repercussions. Like losing your glasses again and again and again. Lose them often enough and it's a short leap from losing your glasses to losing your mind.

I have an idea. Why don't you join me this week in trying to be more mindfully aware of the little things. I'd love it if you let me know either here in the comments or over at my Facebook page how you are doing. To get us started, here are some "little" things to be more mindfully aware:

1. Glasses - We all know it's not about the glasses. It's about juggling 20 things at a time. By slowing down and concentrating on one activity  we instill calmness and focus. When I let myself single task, I actually get more done with less downtime, because I don't do silly things like constantly losing my glasses.

2.  Yoga and Exercise - I hit the yoga mat after running out of the house, driving through traffic and running up to class. Sometimes (okay, most times) it's not easy to leave the fury of the day behind and settle into yoga. But when I do, even for a few minutes, I am richly rewarded. That's why I keep going back.

3.  Cooking - At the end of a busy day, cooking can be a chore, but when you "throw it on the table," you're missing an opportunity for mindfulness. Slow down and really look at your ingredients. Focus on the smell, taste and feel of the food in your hands. Bringing together even a simple dish is a work of creation. Mindfully enjoy it and cooking becomes a relaxing focal point to the day.

4.  Eating - Once you've mindfully created dinner, why not mindfully eat it? The secret to filling your life with simple pleasures (and food has to be right up there) is to actually pay attention to them. Eat slowly and really taste your food. Your body deserves to be fed and your consciousness deserves to savor it. 

5.  Conversation - Whether it's dinnertime with the family or throughout the day, good conversation requires mindfulness. Do you know that flow that comes when you're talking with a friend and time flies by? That's mindfulness and it's amazing. Resolve to get more of it by mindfully focusing on whoever you're talking to at the moment.

6.  Simple Tasks - When I was a young lawyer, I lived in an apartment by myself for a few years. At the end of my very long, crazy days, I'd find myself washing the dishes and really enjoying it. It was quiet, the soap and warm water relaxed me and I was able to start and finish a project. (If you've ever had a job where nothing ever seems to resolve or be finished, you know what I mean.)  I didn't know what mindfulness was at the time, but that's what I was experiencing and it was very satisfying. 

7.  Relaxation - It's probably no secret by now that I'm a multi-tasking workaholic. That's why relaxing doesn't come easily to me, but I know I need to refresh and rejuvenate more often. Being mindfully connected to the moment of relaxation (and not running unending to-do lists through my head) is my only hope. I'm working on it.

8.  Sex - See #7 and "Why Mindfulness is Vital to Sexual Health."

9.  Tea meditation - It's funny how a little thing like tea can teach so much about mindfulness.  

10. Silence -  How can we be mindfully aware of any one thing with so many distractions constantly swirling around us? With all of our 24/7 gadgetry, we've forgotten that moments of silence are necessities. Resolve to turn off the unnecessary noise in your day and seek out silence (or as close to silence as you can get.) Making moments of silence a priority makes mindfulness a possibility.

Remember, I want to hear from you! Let me know here and on Facebook what you're doing to bring little moments of mindfulness into your day!

Survival > Existence,

Related Posts:

Meditation Monday: My Number One Tip to Solving Problems

Mindful Monday: Aware Kindness

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Mindful Monday - Aware Kindness

Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind. Henri Frederic Amiel
 
What do kindness and mindfulness have to do with each other? Have you ever been so distracted by the thoughts racing through your mind that you completely missed what was happening around you? Without awareness, how can you possibly be responsive to others' needs?
 
Years ago, I had to carry my sleeping toddler through the pouring rain in order to pick up my daughter from religion class. As I struggled to open the heavy wooden church door, while juggling the dead weight of my son and an umbrella, a woman approached the door from inside the church. I thought my struggles were over, but she pushed the door open, walked through it and past me, while I waited in the rain holding my toddler and umbrella in disbelief.
 
I had two thoughts as she pushed past me. Okay, three thoughts. The first was uncharitable and included a bit of name-calling. The second was the irony of her leaving a church in such an uncharitable way. The third was the realization that, for all my indignation, her rudeness wasn't about me. You see, as she pushed her way through the door, she was talking on her cell phone. She was completely unaware of me, my presence and my needs. She was in her own little world.
 
As a cancer patient, I experienced exponential levels of kindness from so many people. This created an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that completely changed me. Never a prolific thank you letter writer before, I wrote many, many emails of appreciation. I also set up the People In My Corner section in WhereWeGoNow to give shout outs to these special people in my life.
 
I also searched for active ways to give back. I joined The Pathways Women's Cancer Teaching Project, the Oncology Community Advisory Board of The Carol G. Simon Cancer Center and volunteer with the Cancer Hope Network. The kindness I received makes me continually mindful of paying it back - and forward.
 
All it takes is one act of mindful kindness to cause a ripple effect that lasts for years. I wrote a recent post, "What Do Mom Jeans Have to Do with Self-Confidence," which elicited the following comment:
 
When I was being wheeled out of the hospital after one of my visits with infections and 103 fevers, I was wearing a black turban and had no eyebrows and eyelashes and feeling very ugly and depressed. I was carrying a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, and a woman in he lobby came over and said to me, "Those are beautiful flowers . . .just like you." My mood totally changed. Ever since, I have been making an effort to compliment people and perform loving acts of kindness. I am always rewarded by their responses which give me a feeling of self-confidence.
 
Making the effort to be kind requires mindful awareness. It is simply impossible to be kind when in the throes of "mind fullness." Start today by being kind to yourself. Give yourself a break, don't self-criticize, don't find fault and hold yourself responsible for things you can't control. Learn how to smile at yourself and give yourself a pat on the back.
 
It doesn't take a lot to be kind, just a little bit of mindfulness and an awareness of the fact that "it's the little things," that make people happy - like simply holding open a door.

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