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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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Comments

Angela's picture

I like to practice mindfulness during my kid's soccer and swim practice. While I watch and wait, it is a peaceful time for me to count my blessings.

Debbie's picture

Angela:

I used to do the same thing when I sat in on my son's guitar lessons. It brought me such joy to be in the moment with him as he learned something new. It really is the little moments that bring joy into our lives.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

 

Facing Cancer Together's picture

I decided to look around me, and noticed a basket on the table that a friend wove, painted and gave to me as a gift. I adore this basket . .. and yet until you reminded me to be mindful - I had forgotten it was right in front of my nose (not quite literally). Mindfulness is a lovely idea. Thanks for the reminder!

Debbie's picture

Facing Cancer Together:

You are very welcome and thank you for letting me know how mindful awareness of the little things had an impact on your day. I'm so glad you experienced a moment of mindfulness and the joy of remembering what your basket meant to you.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Beth L. Gainer's picture

Debbie, this is a great posting. I am much more mindful since cancer, but this is a great reminder. Thank you!

Debbie's picture

Beth:

Thanks so much. I also learned the value of mindfulness after cancer. Just one of its many gifts to me. (Not that there weren't many losses too.)

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

 

DrAttai's picture

Great post, Debbie! It's hard sometimes in the frantic rush of the day to find moments of mindfulness - or as I call them - "pockets of peace". Tea is a big one for me as well - my morning and after-lunch cups force me to slow down a little (you can't gulp hot tea!). I think it's important to make an effort to find these pockets of peace as we go through our day. Thanks again for the post.

Debbie's picture

Dr. Attai:

I like the idea of "pockets of peace." It gives me a visual of little bubbles of calm and quiet. Thanks so much for your comment and enjoy your next cup of tea!

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Kimberly Wulfert's picture

Very nice piece, Debbie. You touched on all the areas we are likely to be in each and every day, giving us a continuous opportunity to practice mindful living. I would add sitting meditation. Having a regular daily practice of formal mediation contributes to my being mindful through the day. They go hand in hand for me.

Debbie's picture

Kimberly:

I agree that sitting meditation is an important element of the practice. Unfortunately for me, I find it difficult to get into the routine of doing it every day. That's my struggle right now, but I'm working on it.

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Claudia Schmidt's picture

I love this post. I find my mindfulness in 2 key areas right now - when I'm walking my dog, Tucker (dogs REALLY live in the moment!) and when I'm carting my 15 year old son back and forth to basketball or baseball practice. He's at the age where he grunts rather than talks, and it's like pulling teeth to get any info about his day out of him, so I use these little trips to draw him out and get him to tell me what's been going on in his life. It's (sort of) working! We connect in little ways during these trips because I'm really focused on being mindful to the time we are sharing together. Thanks for the post!

Debbie's picture

Hi Claudia:

I have a 16 year old son who needs a ride home from track/cross-country practice every day, so I know exactly what you mean. Thanks for reminding me that our rides together are another great opportunity for mindfulness (and mother/son bonding.) (Oh, I get nothing but grunts most of the time too. But, every once in a while...)

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

Claudia Schmidt's picture

Hi Debbie,
Yeah, those drives back & forth to track every day are a gold mine of time to connect with him. BTW, congratulations on your 2nd book, I saw a twitter post from you with info about it!
Claudia

Debbie's picture

Hi Claudia:

Thanks so much! I'm so excited that How to Build an Amazing Life After Treatment is out. I hope both books are helpful to survivors coming out of treatment and wondering, "Where do I go now?"

Survival > Existence,

Debbie

 

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