Be deliberate. With your thoughts; with the words you speak; with the actions you take.
The other day, I was whipping up dinner when the most magical thing happened.
I felt like something was missing from the concoction I had made. And so, I reached for citrus- a lime. And just as I was about to wash and cut it open, I realized something:
“I have never really washed a lime- I mean, deliberately massaged and scrubbed one clean”.
Like most people, I have always haphazardly washed limes, a last-minute detail or addition to a stew, or a salsa, or a sauce.
This night, however, was different.
I grabbed two limes to compare, eventually choosing the one. I held the one lime under the bright kitchen lights. I could see its scars, its grooves. I squeezed it to check its ripeness. I smelled its rind.
It was perfect, as far as imperfect goes.
I turned the faucet on, carefully cupping the lime in my hands as they filled with bubbling water.
The water washed down my arms. Its sound and wetness soothing. I felt my bare feet planted on the tan tile.
As I was looking down at the imperfectly perfect lime, I became entranced by the water dancing in my cupped hands. My stance felt strong yet soft, my shoulders were back, my legs stood shoulder width apart, and my chin was effortlessly pointed downwards. My eyes weren’t open, but they weren’t closed either. I had found that sweet spot; how eyes are just as you’re about to drift off to sleep.
My gaze was of a person mesmerized, intoxicated even. My arms started to tingle then as I felt my head and then the rest of my body go warm. I felt connected and for the first time in a long time, I was completely in the moment. It was a love story, for just a moment anyway, between that perfectly imperfect lime, and me.
“I am back in my body. I know that sounds strange to hear, but I haven’t been for so long” is the first thing I said aloud.
As quick as this feeling of mindfulness and connection came on, it left just the same.
I instantly became giddy. I cut the lime in half and carefully squeezed each part into the bowl of delicious food.
“What was that?”
Lo and behold, what I experienced was something all of us know about but few of us actually practice: mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
Sounds straightforward enough, right? Well, yes and no.
That night, unbeknownst to me, I had taken part in a type of ‘moving meditation’, but I truly had no clue or even an idea as to how I ended up there in the first place.
It started with a thought, but what was it again? Oh, right- I had never really washed a lime. So, I changed that and I did. I examined every part of it (including the water) and allowed myself to be completely sucked into the experience. It was just me, the lime, and the water.
So, how the hell do you become mindful? Is it an overnight thing? Does practice make perfect?
1. Only you can tell you that. It’s different for everyone. I am apparently (seriously this is news to me) a fan of moving meditation. Where do you feel most free? Where you are so engaged in what you’re doing that you have absolutely no opportunity to think or succumb to distraction. Go there. For many it’s working out (jujitsu!), yoga, swimming, dancing, cooking, or maybe even washing dishes.
Or maybe you are someone who can sit in a room on the floor and become mindful through your breath. Put yourself out there and try. Give different things a chance and feel what works for you.
2. In my experience, no. We are mindful at our core, but there are so many distractions that sometimes it can be difficult. However, don’t fall into the trap that you only have to quiet your mind to be mindful. Listen to your body and go towards what feels right. Your body is more in tune than you think and will take liberties to get you there. Just listen.
3. Not perfect, but you can get better at getting to, and more importantly, staying in the present moment. Any behavior (including mindfulness) is reinforced through repitition (think of your brain as a train track,) so keep at it!
I’m thinking of making this a weekly series because we all need reminders to take care of ourselves from time to time, right?
Leave your comments, ideas, or future wellness topics below!