The Magic of Mindful Living
I've always liked the way meditation teacher and author Sharon Salzberg describes mindfulness. She explains it as "a quality of awareness where your relationship with the present moment is not distorted by bias." In this way mindfulness becomes a quality of present aliveness, an understanding of being without the need to twist away from how it is. In a world of constant distraction and FOMO, this can be a challenge.
I personally have struggled with this concept as I grew up feeling the need to multitask and be as efficient as possible - not necessarily considering how my efficient juggling act was influencing my effectiveness and my enjoyment of the task(s) at hand. Just the other day I distinctly remember I was walking with my husband and puppy, holding my phone in one hand, drinking a kombucha in the other, and trying to figure out how to open the dark chocolate bar I had just purchased so I could also enjoy a nibble on our way home.
These seemingly innocuous moments of doing too much at once without clarity of focus rob us of the simple pleasure and celebration of being alive. We can forget to savor and treasure the act of any one of those things - walking with one's beloved, or one's puppy, drinking something delicious, or eating and savoring a piece of dark chocolate - and when we forget that appreciation we can become jaded.
I sincerely do not want to take this life for granted, and I'm pretty sure if you're part of this Tribe, you don't either. But what to do?
I always recommend to clients (and myself!) that small moments matter. Starting small and reasonable is the best place to begin. Set a timer for 2-3 minutes and just simply savor your morning mug of coffee or tea without distraction. Allow yourself a few minutes of focused breathing on your morning commute to work via metro, pick one meal a day to truly savor and think about the flavors, textures and pleasure - even just for a few minutes. You get the idea, right?
But it's important you don't set yourself up for failure - i.e. if you have a crazy job where a slow lunch isn't feasible, pick breakfast or diner as your "savor" meal. If you know you always come home exhausted and collapse into bed, try to create a practice for a mindful morning. I assure you, 2-3 minutes can go a long way.
The power of mindfulness is that it wakes us up to the beauty, the mystique, and the magic of a life. That flower we always walk by and miss because we're looking at our phone, suddenly becomes the most glorious burst of life you've ever seen. That conversation with your friend or sibling or coworker that you usually have while distracted gives you a sense of deep and meaningful connection when you actually pay attention. It's in the details of this life that we find it's greatest gifts. I hope you'll find a way to weave flashes of mindfulness into your life so that they may snowball into a fuller, deeper, and much more joyful existence.
If you're interested in exploring these concepts more in depth over a delicious meal (and you're in Washington, D.C.) please join me for the Mindful Eating + Living event with Sweet Green on Thursday, September 14th. Spots are filling up so do reserve yours here. If you live outside the D.C. area and would like to work together one-on-one, I look forward to connecting over a session.