Mindfulness: 37 Everyday Places Where You Can Practice Enjoying the Moment
“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters to what lies within us.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Discovering the present moment changed my life.
It was one of those things that in retrospect you wonder how you ever lived without it. About three years ago, I was in the throes of starting my MBA, working full-time, and being a husband and dad to my wife and (at that time) two small children. Life was hectic. I still thought multi-tasking and spreading myself paper-thin was the surest way to succeed.
And then it hit me. I don’t remember how I actually stumbled upon it. But the whole idea of being in control of—and totally enjoying—the present moment instead of fretting over the past or future was eye-opening. I was a serial planner, an über-plot-it-out-and-execute-it kind of guy. I was so busy being busy that I was losing sight of what was right before me.
It was one of the epiphanies that led me to this approach of living ‘deeply’. Living deeply open doors to all kinds of awesome wonders in life. Mindfulness is one of the keys to unlocking those doors.
The great thing about mindfulness is that you don’t have to be doing anything special to practice it. No need for formal meditation; no need for special pillows, incense or mood music; no need to belong to one belief system or another. Just a simple desire to enjoy the present moment.
In my experience, mindfulness works well when you incorporate it into everyday kinds of things. How often do we find ourselves doing one thing yet in our head, we’re a thousand miles away somewhere else. I think it’s the result of this over-the-top stimulation we surround ourselves coupled with the incessant desire to multi-task.
Over the past few years, I’ve tried working mindfulness into all sorts of things. Here are a few ideas that you may want to try too:
1. Commuting to work
2. Riding your bike
3. Washing the dishes
4. Walking between meetings
5. Grocery shopping
6. Playing with your kids
8. Working in the garden
9. Talking with your significant other
10. Going through your workout
11. Cooking a meal
13. Soothing your child’s boo-boo
14. Having dinner with friends or family
15. Taking a shower
16. Washing the windows
17. Mowing the lawn
18. Sipping your tea
19. Doing a crossword puzzle
21. Teaching your child right from wrong
22. Doing homework
23. Participating in a meeting
24. Listening to your parents
25. Giving your baby a bath
27. Walking the dog(s)
28. Folding the laundry
29. Sewing a button
30. Watching your child’s baseball game
31. Making a homemade gift
32. Paying your bills
33. Fixing a leaky faucet
34. Creating art or music
Remember, it takes practice (and patience). Just like training for a marathon or a World Cup match, you need to work through the kinks and keep at it. The mind wants to wander. So if you slip, don’t beat yourself up over it. Take a breath, let go of the extraneous thought and return to the moment. Then smile.
Where else have/could you practice mindfulness? Feel free to add to the list and make it yours.
If you’re interested in other tips for mindful parenting, check out this list of 12 from Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn. I have found it extremely useful and inspiring.
If you found this helpful, you could help my writing by taking a (mindful) moment and sharing this post with others. Tweets are great; other social media work well too. If you liked this post, you might also enjoy these:
- Life is Knocking: 9 Reasons to Answer the Call to Live Deeply
- The 7 Joys of Time Well Spent and How to Realize Them
- 33 Simple Things to Get You Reconnected with Nature
[Image: mindfulness via flickr]