Three Simple Practices For Everyday Mindfulness
By Aaron Manes
Why is it that mundane is funny on tv or in a movie? I recently rewatched the classic film “Office Space” where every day seems to be a Monday. It seems like the absurdity won’t end until the main character, Peter, goes to a hypnotist and becomes mindful of the insanity that goes on around him. From there, he does everything that most of us only dream of doing and he begins to truly live.
We all can’t skip work, unscrew the wall of our cubical or take baseball bats to that piece of outdated technology that will never work correctly. So what can we do?
In his book, “The Power Of Now,” Eckhart Tolle says the greatest threat to your presence is your future and your past. If we are going to be present in our everyday life, we have to practice it.
So here are three simple ways to practice presence while doing mundane, everyday activities.
1: Take A Shower Break
Right before you are ready to get out of the shower, take a presence break. Step into the water, take 3 deep breaths and breathe in the humid air. Then spend one minute with your eyes closed feeling your feet on the floor and the water hitting your skin. Work on clearing your head by just feeling your breath. If it helps you, say a prayer to close. I like the St. Patrick’s prayer (or really an excerpt from it) for this practice.
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
2: Waiting as a Practice
Is there anything worse than waiting in line or in a “waiting room?” If you don’t have something with you it is often the most boring thing you can do. But it also presents an opportunity for mindfulness. Instead of going into the eternal clickbait of social media on your phone, see it as a time to make a real connection with a quick gratitude practice.
Take three deep breaths and feel your feet on the floor. Breathe normally and think of three things you are thankful for and three people you are grateful for. Then take the next step and text those three people and tell them why you are grateful for them. It will most likely spark a good conversation and bring a little light to your day.
3: Only Putting Your Kids To Bed
For many parents, bedtime is the hardest part of the day. It becomes the back-and-forth game with your child who just won’t go to sleep. If you are like me, I just want them to go to sleep so I can get some of my own time. We all need that time so don’t hear me blaming you, but what if you could just be present during bed time and use that as a practice.
This idea is a little less guided but basically you can practice losing the concept of time during bedtime. Put out of your mind your future “me-time” and just be present in bedtime with your kids. Just do one thing at a time - lose the urgency to get them to sleep and stay a little longer in their room.
Here are a few things to try:
Sit on their floor in the dark and listen to them breathe
Listen to a meditation with them
Tell them a long story that you make up (this one takes some practice)
Sing them your favorite songs
Tell them something from your family’s history (maybe it’s just a childhood story)
By just practicing bedtime with your kids, your evenings will be better.
Ok, that’s it. Three simple mindfulness practices that you can use to make better use of everyday tasks. Leave us a comment below and tell use how these worked for you. Remember that even in the mundane we can practice mindfulness - oh and please put a cover sheet on your TPS report… did you get that memo?