“Be where you are, otherwise you will miss your life.” – Buddha
Often when we are engaged in everyday routines, our body is in one place, while our mind is somewhere else, and our breath is being ignored. We’re operating in autopilot. This is mindlessness. And in today’s world where most of us are in a constant state of partial attention, it’s the norm.
But consider this:
In challenging times of our lives, when we’re stressed, sick or injured, we tend to turn to our daily routines to help us feel normal and forget our worries. Routines then become soothing – and more sacred – like rituals. Why wait until tough times, when you could create more joy now? By seeing routines as rituals, we can prevent burn-out and boredom and cultivate appreciation for the simple mundane routines that make up our lives. This is mindfulness.
Here’s How to Do It:
1. Get Out of Autopilot Mode:
When you notice yourself in autopilot: Be glad you noticed – you were being mindful! Get yourself out of your head, and into your body by focusing on your five senses: what you see, hear, smell, feel and taste. Come back to the present, to the space around you, and what you are doing. Bring awareness into your breath. Take a moment to appreciate what you are able to do or where you are. Be glad you have teeth to brush, or hot water to bathe in, or a home to clean, or a job to do.
2. Create Rituals from Routines:
AM: Instead of grabbing caffeine on the go or drinking it in the company of your electronic devices or news, turn your first cup of coffee or tea into a daily ritual: Sit, sip and savor your fresh-brew from a cherished mug while observing the dawn sky fill with light.
PM: To help you destress and transition from business of the day to relaxation, take a pause for even just a few minutes to sit and focus on your breath or meditate, or take a short stroll outdoors to observe the evening sky, setting sun, rising moon, stars or clouds.
3. Take a Lesson From Nature:
As summer turns to fall this month, and you observe the sun rising later and setting earlier, take time to reflect on your own daily routines. Instead of thinking of them as boring and repetitive, see them as gentle reminders of life – of what the whole universe shares. Nature teaches us to be more present, reminding us to find joy in our individual everyday routines. See them as rituals that sweeten your experiences and connect you to the rhythms of life.