This is about how to find obvious reminders for mindfulness, during my day, that are effort free and perpetual, i.e. they aren’t going away.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m purposely titling this post as something I find very difficult. To be mindful on the way back from the hospital after a long day helping out is hard. To listen to your keys jangle as you go down the steps, to feel each footstep on each step. That is possible, a relief in some way, but all day? That’s interestingly far out of reach for me right now.
This is something I was talking about with one of my mentoring clients recently (mentees? I’ve never quite gotten on board with that term/word). How to bring mindful awareness into the moment by moment that is all of our lives, however those moments end up being lived in our heads.
Can we, essentially, be more aware, more conscious, all day long?
My answer is yes, and it’s much talked about by influential authors such as Jon Kabut Zinn and Andy from Headspace.
Once we are mindful, we can choose to enjoy those around us, encourage them, enjoy all the miniature things in life. Notice the moments and relish them. Which is a wonderful thing. We can choose to be positive, choose how to respond, be proactive and joyful.
Utterly worthwhile, choice
So that is worthwhile. Certainly made a transformative and monumental difference to be. You should see how much fun it is on the ward, and what we get done (I’m not a doctor or nurse – those folk are great – I’m just a Dad).
The way I’ve taken it on is that by using obvious repeated activities, like going through doors, or brushing your teeth, walking up and down stairs etc. If I could remind myself to be mindful during these activities, I would begin to build a series of life long reminders.
And to come out of the ‘I would if this’ mode, into the ‘I am, I do this’ mode: I try it, it works. Steps, as per the real example from earlier this evening, work well. I go up and down stairs, fast and often. Usually fast, and not always mindfully, but occasionally I manage it, and the habit is improving. With steps it’s improving, with brushing my teeth it’s improving.
All this is aimed at furthering my ability to notice where I am, and to be aware. Simply to find more and more opportunities. I set alarms on my phone too and all sorts of other tricks. But those like going in or out of doors are hard to accumulate as good reminders, but once grasped, stick around and are useful.
HABIT REMINDER: When brushing my teeth, what do I think about? Am I worrying about the day ahead or day just gone. Am I concerned how grey my hair is, or how coloured my teeth are. Or have I managed to be aware of my feet, and focus gently on brushing.
HABIT REMINDER: When I go out of a door, my front door, the building front door, a train door, a bus door, do I remember? Yes, sometimes.