As we go about our days, there are certain things we rush through because we can do them so easily. We don't have to actively think about what it is we are doing - walking, driving, showering. This can be useful, yet also detrimental. We get lost in the distractions - losing track of the present moment because we don't have to pay attention to it. But we have to fill our mind with something, so instead we replay the past or rehearse for the future.
Mindfulness allows us to move with intention.
Let's take showering for example. I used to rush through my showers; I couldn't wait to get out of there because I was stressing about the day, thinking about all of the things that I had to do next. Next, next, next. It's always about what is next. I have come to notice that my mind is very rarely where my body is.
Now I shower differently. I think about the actions I am taking, I pay attention - to even the littlest details. I encourage you to do the same by following this simple exercise below. Practice this with non-judgment and let yourself come from a place of curiosity - not necessarily trying to change anything in the moment. Just simply noticing.
First of all, before you even shower, look up at that spout coming out of your wall and realize how miraculous it is that by twisting a knob, clean water will come pouring on to you so that you are able to wash your body. What a privilege that is.
So you turn the shower knob. Do you do this quickly or slowly? Feel the tips of your fingers and how they grip the handle. As you place your hand under the stream of water, notice the temperature. How does it feel when it first makes contact with your skin? What is the contrast between the dry and wet?
Pay attention, as you step into the shower, to the water trickling down your body. How does it feel? How would you describe its texture? Let it fully envelop you. Right now your world is just you and this water - that is all that matters. Take it all in. This is it.
As you wash your body and shampoo your hair, observe the different smells. Breathe it in. Notice where your fingertips are placed as they massage your scalp. Can you put words to this sensation? Do you run your fingers through your hair? Are your eyes closed or open? How does it feel to rinse your hair as the residual shampoo falls your back?
Practice this with the other tasks in your shower - washing your face, shaving, etc.
When you are done showering, how does it feel to turn off the shower and exit? Notice if there is a temperature change. Observe how the towel feels on your body and how this sensation is different than what you were experiencing just moments before - water pouring all over you.
Then ... just ... be ... here ... now. All day. be. here. now.
You can continue this with other tasks we tend to mindlessly carry out. The tasks we do on autopilot. Wait though. AUTOPILOT?? I don't really want to be on autopilot. I want to fly my own plane. I want to choose which direction I go.
By practicing mindfulness in the smaller and seemingly less significant parts of our day, this can carry over to the bigger things and those decisions that carry more influence. Quieting our minds and paying attention help us to develop appreciation, presence, and clarity.
Let your mind be where your body is.