I recently read a wonderful quote’ from M. Reitz and M. Chaskalson:
Mindfulness is: ‘Stepping out of the fast flowing & sometimes turbulent stream onto the river bank so you can easily see what’s going on’
I’m not sure mindfulness practice is necessarily ‘easy’ although it has been scientifically proved to get easier with practice.
So then I got thinking about being mindful at work. In some environments this may seem impossible to do. If you work in health & social care for example there may not seem to be many occasions when you can be mindful. However, with a bit of thought I believe you can.
So, here’s my list of six activities you can try to build into your day at work, and if you don’t work then you can equally build them into whatever you're doing:
Taste: Can you taste the air as you walk. If there are any late season blackberries help yourself to a couple and eat them mindfully as you go. If it’s raining then taste the rain.
Temperature: Are you warm, hot or cold? Can you feel the temperature on your face? Is your face colder or warmer than other parts of your body?
Touch: Can you feel the ground beneath your feet? The differences in texture? Pick a leaf and feel it in your fingers. What does it feel like? What does it feel like if you run it across your face? Can you crumple it?
Seeing: What can you see around you? Notice the buildings and fields, the grass or tarmac beneath your feet. Notice something you’ve never seen before.
Sound: What can you hear? Really listen. Approach this playfully. Does the siren you hear change note, what about the birds? Is that the same song sung over and over or are there variations?
Smell: What can you smell? Dew on the grass maybe, or the exhaust fumes of cars.
If you drive: You need to be alert to what’s going on around you, so I’d hesitate in getting too focussed on the activity! However, notice the feel of the car door as you open it. Look carefully at the lights which light up on your dashboard. If you realise you don’t know what they all mean perhaps now’s the time to find out! J What sound does the door make when it closes? What about your engine when it starts? Do your brakes make a sound when you first pull away? What about the noise of the surfaces you drive over? I live at the end of a mile long lane, I have grass and gravel, concrete and ruts to negotiate before I get onto the main road. Each makes a different sound and feels different as I drive over them. What about if you drive through puddles or a wet road surface, or mud? What do they sound like, how do they feel? What sounds can you hear? What temperature are you? What smells are there inside the car, or coming from outside/ I love driving through bonfire smoke, or behind a two-stroke engine or a car which is burning oil.
Or, when the phone rings, don’t answer it straight away, take a couple of breaths first and then answer it.
So hopefully I’ve shown you how you can incorporate some mindful activities quickly and easily into your day. Please let me know in the comments how you get on, I’d love to know how you managed.
Until next time
Each month, throughout 2017, I will be posting in more detail about the topic of the month. Let me know if there's anything specific you'd like me to discuss.