What is mindfulness? The first introduction I had to really understand what mindfulness was through Thicht Nat Han. His book, “The Miracle of Mindfulness.” I read it and he have an excerpt about washing dishes that has always stuck with me and changed the way I look at life, “Wash the dishes relaxingly, as though each bowl is an object of contemplation. Consider each bowl as sacred. Follow your breath to prevent your mind from straying. Do not try to hurry to get the job over with. Consider washing the dishes the most important thing in life. Washing the dishes is meditation. If you cannot wash the dishes in mindfulness, neither can you meditate while sitting in silence.”
This brilliant teaching changed the way I live and do dishes! I, like most, used to dread doing the dishes. Since reading that book, I’ve come to really enjoy it. It relaxes me. I daydream from time to time, but I always try to bring my mind back to the actual act of doing them. I enjoy feeling the warm water on my hands, scrubbing the sponge against the dish, soaping it all up and removing the particles of stuck food. It has now become a Zen experience for me. Anything can be a Zen experience if you allow it to be.
Mindfulness is about being in the present moment. When we live in the past or the future, our brains become anxious and do not serve us. If we can think mindfully, we can speak mindfully and be more eloquent with our words. When we are mindful, we are present and in our bodies. In practicing mindfulness, we are self-aware and that invites the space for us to honour our truest selves.
The practice of mindfulness can transform your life. It can help to reset your nervous system, as when we become mindful, we begin to focus on our breathing. Our breathing brings us back to a place of peace. One of the many ways you can use mindfulness is to help quell the anxiety of negative thoughts and patterns that can create untrue stories of what may happen.
“No amount of anxiety makes any difference to anything that is going to happen.”- Alan Watts
How to use mindfulness to improve the start of your day:
-When you first awake, bring awareness into how you feel.
-What is your mood like?
-Observe your breath, is it fast or slow?
-Notice how your body moves, do you feel tension or ease?
-When you get out of bed, do it mindfully, plant your feet, feel them on the ground, on your carpet or hardwood floor, press into the floor before you walk.
-As you enjoy your morning coffee or tea, feel the cup in your hands, take in the aroma, breathe it in, take a sip, let the flavour rest on your taste buds.
-Try to observe everything as if you are brand new to this earth and experiencing it for the very first time… and don’t forget to smile.
This is an example and how you can use mindfulness daily, to improve your happiness. With every action in your day, if you come at it from a place of mindfulness, you will see that you will feel lighter, calmer and most importantly happier.
So next time, you’re washing your dishes, think of Thicht Nat Han, “If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not washing the dishes to wash the dishes. What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact, we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus, we are sucked away into the future and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.”
If you would like to explore Mindfulness further check out the Mindfulness Courses on Natura Training Institute of Natural Healing at this link www.naturainstitute.com.au
Joalena Moore is the founder of Heal with Me and is a certified holistic life coach, sound healer, reiki practitioner and licensed massage therapist. Her passion is to help people find happiness and balance through wellness and holistic therapies, inspiring the soul to connect, heal and grow.
She also teaches Mindfulness to autistic and neurodivergent artists for the non-profit Spectrum Laboratory (www.speclabs.org)
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