A common exercise to improve your ability to stay in the moment is to practice mindfulness while doing a simple task such as sweeping the floor or weeding a garden.
We are often caught up in our thoughts, so these simple tasks give us a focus and a reason to keep coming back to the present.
The Universe must think I’m in need of a mindfulness lesson because last week, my dishwasher broke.
It took several days to get a repairman in to fix it, so I tried to do my best to stay mindful while washing the dishes. To turn off the background podcast chatter. To pay attention to the way the water, the dishrag and the silver felt against my fingers.
Of course I got distracted. Chimes from my phone let me know that I had mail and a new Twitter follower. I suddenly remembered that my phone bill is due and hastily scribbled a note to remind myself. I worried for a bit about some family members in poor health.
And then I’d come to – realizing that I’d dried several bowls and put them away lost in my reverie. It made me so sad.
Drying a dish is hardly a memory worth saving. But the certain knowledge that I spend whole days bouncing in the gusty breezes of my thoughts means that there are whole days, whole conversations, wonderful moments sacrificed on the altar of my to-do list and worries.
My head is full of things I should do. I will work harder to fill it with awareness of what I am doing, in this place, in the moment. My to-do list will never be complete. But someday, my days will be.
Photo taken by me and run through the Instagram car wash before landing here.