I talk about mindfulness. I write about mindfulness. I do my best to practice mindfulness. And often, as I’m walking down the street, I worry if I turned the oven off before I left the house.
Now, the reality is that I always (almost always?) turn the oven dials to off before I even open the oven door. But the reality also is that I’m not paying attention as I do so. Instead of being mindful – and aware of where I am and what I’m doing – my mind is wandering to what comes next, or what came before. So I miss noting that the oven is off, and I therefore worry about it later.
I’ve therefore decided that my new mindfulness practice will include more than meditation. More than being aware of my breath. More than feeling my feet on the floor as I stand, or my hands grazing my legs as I sit. It will include paying attention to what’s going on in the moment – within me and outside of me.
It will include noting what I’m feeling, and letting those feelings move through me and not take me over. It will include noticing what I’m doing – especially if I’m doing something that I want to remember, or want to remember that I did.
As I sit here, the dishwasher is running. I hear it. My husband and son are upstairs blow-drying my son’s baseball shirt. (My son gathered his laundry. I threw it in the washer. Only then did he realize that his baseball shirt was in there…and he needed it for his game. Guess he could use to be more mindful as well.) I hear the blow dryer and their voices.
I notice the sunshine on the windowsill, and through the French doors, in my peripheral vision. One foot touches the floor, one foot is resting against the table leg. Typing on my keyboard is a very different experience as I actively feel my fingertips hitting the keys. I’m aware of the list of “to-do’s” that are running through my head (and running my day), and of the unnecessary anger and grief that overcame me recently – and that has no impact on me now.
I’m paying attention. And I hope to do so, as much as possible, as my day continues. So that I can be fully part of my day and fully experience the day.
And so that I can remember that I turned the oven off when I took my muffins out to cool.
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