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Mindfulness is in the Details
The other morning, my son, Jonathan, and I overslept. We awoke shortly before he was due at school. While I sleepily got dressed, Jonathan began rushing through the house, trying to put on his clothes, eat his breakfast and gather up his schoolbooks, all at the same time.
Suddenly, he stopped and began talking to himself, “Ok, Jon, slow down. When you’re in a rush, you need to slow down.” He took a few deep breaths and slowed his walking and decided to focus on eating his breakfast.
The next few moments seemed to slow down too, as Jonathan and I worked in perfect tandem to get him ready for school. We slowed our breathing, our movements and our thoughts. Time seemed stretch out into infinity, giving us all the time we needed. We talked quietly, joked lovingly and arrived at school in time.
I used to think mindfulness was about totally focusing on whatever task I was doing, blocking out all distractions. Now, I know that mindfulness is actually a skill: the ability to maintain an awareness of how you are reacting to external stimuli—physically, emotionally, and intellectually.
When I do shut down or block out what’s going on around me, my job, housework or exercise actually triggers my body’s stress response and blocks my ability to stay in the present moment. Blocking out external stimulus is a pattern we’ve learned throughout our lives. Here’s how my son and I work to develop our mindfulness skills. Take a few moments during the day to try the following:
1. Choose 1 of the following activities.
Minor home repair
Straightening your desk
2. During the first few minutes, do the activity more quickly than normal.
3. Then do the activity more slowly than normal for a few minutes.
4. Finish the activity at a pace that is comfortable for you.
5. Take a moment to journal about your noticings.
Tip: Try to do this activity several times over the next week, at different times of the day and notice any similarities or differences if you:
Change the activity
Change the time of day
Do the activity when you don’t feel like doing it
Copyright (c) 2001 Carolyn Wilson-Elliott
About the Author: Tired of Your Inner Critic (Negative Thoughts) Always Getting the Last Word? Discover how to get it on Your side....Master Spiritual Life Coach, Carolyn Wilson-Elliott, shares 10 powerful and effective self-coaching secrets used by successful people to get the results they want. Sign up for these free self-coaching techniques at http://www.SpiritualCrossTraining.com Contact Carolyn at her website http://www.QuantumSpirit.com