Normally I race around multitasking. I am always thinking about a million things while I try and do at least two activities at once. More and more I forget what two things I'm doing and I often feel guilt that I'm not doing either terribly well. This certainly is the lament of every working mom. There is a Zen story that tells of a man charging down a road on a galloping horse. Another man, on the side of the road, yells to the first man, "Where are you going?" "I don't know", replies the rider, "Ask the horse." The horse represents our galloping thoughts pulling us along throughout our day. We don't know where we are going and we couldn't stop, even if we did.
Lately I have been reading about mindfulness, the act of stopping and paying attention to the here and now. During the act of stopping, we stop thinking, forgetfulness and the strong emotions that rule us. When we are practicing mindful breathing, eating, walking, loading the dishwasher, driving our car, grocery shopping etc. we are touching deeply the present moment and appreciating the well being that is already present in our day to day lives.
Normally when I do any of these activities I'm usually thinking about something that took place in the past or planning the future, certainly not about what I am actually doing or even where I am most of the time. How many times have I driven almost all the way to work and wondered how I got there! What happened to the last few miles of road?
So there I was, on a fine summer morning, sitting on the steps of my front porch, mindfully eating my breakfast. I was eating whole-wheat squares with blueberries on top. I focused on the taste of the whole-wheat, the tartness of the blueberries. I did wonder if eating mindfully would make me feel more full after a meal but instead of dwelling on that thought which would have led me on the horse of no return, I simply went back to my cereal and the blueberries. Later as I was folding laundry, lost in thought, I asked myself, "What am I doing?" "I am folding laundry, be mindful of it", I replied and brought myself back to the task at hand.
Throughout the day I practiced mindful walking, driving and listening. Each time my galloping horse took off, I simply asked myself, "What are your doing?" and came back to the now. Each task, even if it was simply mindful breathing, became the most important job in my life at that moment.
We are all struggling to find happiness and joy in our lives. Living mindfully suggests that it is right in front of us every day in our ordinary lives. Perhaps it is a blue sky on a summer day, a flower that bloomed overnight in your garden, the sound of your children's voices. My father, who only moves with pain in his later years, would say that joy is being able to move like he used to as a younger man. Did he value this when he was younger? No, of course not. We only pay attention to these things when they have been taken away from us. Pay attention to the now, practice living mindfully and find the joy that is right in front of you everyday.
Lesley Cordero is President of Cordero Consulting offering personal growth solutions in the form of workshops, keynote presentations, and Internet information resources. Subscribe to her free ezine "Deep Linking" at www.LesleyCordero.com">http://www.LesleyCordero.com and receive FREE the Special Report: Deep Linking - Articles on Change & Transformation. Are You Ready ... To See Things Differently?® is her new e-book.