It’s Monday again. Time for week two of our online self-study course in self-care and mindfulness. If you’re joining us for the first time, welcome. If you’re back for more, we’re glad you’re still interested in improving your life through self-care and mindfulness. Although we will be going through the process step by step, it takes attention and effort to maintain in a world filled with distraction and external demands.
Last week, we asked you to spend 5 minutes twice each day in some self-care activity which could be closing your eyes and paying attention to your breath (mindful breathing) or noticing the sensory experience of taking a shower, walking in nature or washing the dishes. How’d you do? Were you able to set the time aside to practice for 5 minutes each day? Were you able to focus on what you were doing and bring your mind back when it started to wander? For now, what’s most important is dedicating the time to being in the moment and having a different experience than we usually do when we’re caught up in our busy, stressed out lives. True self-care.
This week your assignment is to spend 10 minutes twice each day in some self-care activity or twenty minutes once a day. I like to sit on my porch or deck and slowly sip a cup of tea (in my tranquili-tea cup a friend gave me) and watch the clouds passing in the sky, look at how green it’s become or listen to the bird songs. The same friend who gave me the teacup says it’s getting a little “mental spa” time. When my mind starts to fill with future worries or past regrets, I bring it back to the momentary sensations I’m experiencing before getting too far down the “not in the moment” road.
Your other assignment this week is to notice when your mind wanders and start to bring it back to the moment you’re in. If this happens, you can close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to redirect your attention. Another strategy is to hyper-focus your attention on one sense like seeing or something which provides a momentary experience naturally like watching a cloud pass by in the sky. When I’m walking and a train goes by, I stop and focus my attention on the train until I see the caboose. Then I resume my walk.
Whatever happens, congratulate yourself on your effort. Marcel Proust said “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new lands but in seeing through new eyes.” Namaste