It struck me today when I was vacuuming out my car that I was ‘all in’. I was not thinking about anything except vacuuming. I was fully present, engaged and intent. Of course, as soon as I had that thought, I was ‘out’ which is ironic. Thinking about being mindful really isn’t mindful …it’s thinking.?
Washing dishes, washing a car, vacuuming, and gardening are all common activities for mindfulness activities. They involve many different sensations – sound, touch, smell, sight (hopefully not taste). Paying attention to your senses is the hallmark of mindfulness. Feeling the warm water, hearing the hum of the vacuum, smelling the lavender scented dish soap and seeing the dark, rich soil as you plant a colorful array of flowers is entrancing. It is easy to get lost in the moment …which really isn’t being lost …it is being present. ?
The more that you practice mindfulness, the more fully engaged you can be. Chores go quicker, more seems to get accomplished and you can feel more of a sense of enjoyment and pride when you are complete with your tasks. Interestingly, research has found that when people wash dishes mindfully – engaging all their senses – their feelings of inspiration are increased and nervousness decreased!
This is the time of the year when we start cleaning more for holiday festivities and a great opportunity to practice mindfulness. As you engage in the task, simply begin to bring your attention to each sense.
- Notice the colors, shapes, lightness, darkness, forms of things around you.
- Notice the sounds as you engage in your task, directly around you and even afar.
- Notice any scents arising from the task in which you are engaged.
- Notice how you feel, what you feel, notice movement of your own body or of things around you.
- Notice if there is anything to taste …what does it taste like, feel like in your mouth ?
Touch, Feel, Smell, Hear and Taste your way through your chores this week!
Don’t think too much and don’t get too lost in the process…simply be, enjoy, breathe and be mindful.