Day 35 of #LiveWell2017
One of the best ways to practice mindfulness and bring yourself into the present moment is to do a small task slower and with more care than usual. I’ve done this while washing dishes. Don’t laugh. Think about it. Washing dishes is one of those automated tasks we do every day. It’s something that we do on autopilot, just like driving. We don’t really think about what we are doing, it just gets done. But when I chose to slow down and focus only on the task of washing dishes, something amazing happened.
I felt the warm water on my hands and noticed that my shoulders relaxed. I washed a bowl with the dishcloth and appreciated the smoothness and roundness of the bowl. I took extra care to clean under the handle of a pot. I laid each dish gently on the drying cloth and saw how the water dripping from the dish was absorbed into the cloth. I noticed the sounds of the water splashing and the clinking of dishes against each other created a rhythm all its own.
When I was finished. I felt completely calm and relaxed. My mind had not wandered to what I was going to do after I finished the dishes nor had it made a list of things to do tomorrow. It did not linger on what I had done earlier in the day. I was fully present washing the dishes. It sounds silly, but being mindful in the way that we do small tasks can have great rewards for our health and well-being. It keeps us from worrying about the future or fretting about the past. It reminds us that this is our moment to live. There is no other moment than now. And it makes us realize that each moment can bring great joy, even washing the dishes, if we chose for it to.
Jan Chozen Bays suggests taking a day or a week to practice “watching your hands”. When you watch your hands doing a task, you begin to appreciate just how talented they are and how much they do for you each day. Watching your hands slows your task. Mindfulness really is just slowing down and paying attention to what you are doing in any given moment. The reward is a more peaceful you.
What task did you slow down for today? What did it teach you?