I'm a grown man and
I can do what I want.
5 Years ago my wife Katie suggested I drink too much coffee. She was coming from a place of love. How did I respond? "I love my coffee! You can't tell me what to do!" Playfully I told her I'm a grown man and I could do what I want. She said, "Oh honey, I'm not asking you to stop drinking coffee. I am just asking you to sit still and pay attention when you do. Take some time for yourself and truly enjoy it." She ALWAYS has a way of making subtle suggestions for my betterment. Take time for myself? OK!
As I let the goodness steep, I went outside to secure a place to sit.
One morning I woke up to the birds singing on a warm July morning. At the time, we lived in a place in Downtown Flagstaff. There were big green trees, green grass, green bushes all along the dried creek bed. The sun had just come over the Eastern skyline. I was in the kitchen, doors and windows open, the fresh breeze gently stirred the curtains. Water warming to a boil on the stove while I ground my fresh roasted beans from the local roaster. At the time, 50 oz French Press was the ONLY way I would drink coffee. (Yes. I drank 2-3 pints of strong coffee every morning. But don't worry, it didn't have any bad effects on my wellbeing.) As I let the goodness steep, I went outside to secure a place to sit. Found it. Comfy lawn chair with my back to the sunrise so I could feel the warm rays. The anticipation of taking some time for myself was killing me.
Between drinks I focused on the sunshine, birds and
Eventually, I noticed something.
When I returned to my seat with my pint of coffee the birds were singing and the gentle breeze was blowing. Perfect day for a mindful journey. As Katie had requested, I took the intention to feel and sense each sip of this delicious brew. I felt it wash over my tongue and down my throat. Between drinks I focused on the sunshine, birds and cool breeze. I took a few more sips in the same manner. Eventually, I noticed something. There was a subled unsettled feeling in my belly. Sweating, I became a little irritated that my morning was taking a turn for the bad, I took another sip. Ah, so good! I sat back and enjoyed the moment. Then I noticed, the feeling was getting worse. I was getting anxious, uncomfortable, and a bit more irked! I opened my eyes and looked at the coffee. Literally 2 oz were gone from my delicious pint. Dang it. She was right.
Mindfulness is all the rage,
and for good reason...
The hardest part is finding the time.
Mindfulness is all the rage, and for good reason. It was recently the subject of an entire Time Magazine publication. It describes the science and benefits from mindfulness. This truly is the bases of change we use here at Flagstaff Integrated Therapies. We do all we can to "Make Connections. Deliver Results." As the yogis suggest, there is benefit to calming the storms of the mind. Things become a little clearer when you sit for a bit and notice. If you choose to go outside and talk a walk in the middle of your day, it will reset your perspective.
Now it's your turn!
We can use all sorts of ways to start sprinkling mindfulness into our lives. The hardest part is finding the time. Consider modifying two things you do every single day: Eating and brushing teeth.
Consider the last meal you had. Do you remember what it was? What if tasted like? How did you feel after you finished? In our busy lives, most of us rush through eating to make up time. If we pay attention while we chew, even if only a few bites, it can literally change your life. The next time you put food in your mouth, really notice what it feels like. The temperature. The texture. Which part of your tongue is tasting the food? What does it feel like to swallow? Take a 20 second pause BEFORE taking another bite. Notice if you can't wait for the next bite. That's wanting. That's emotion worth getting familiar with as it can drive suffering more than anything else. Consider trying mindful eating and enjoy the results!
Mindful teeth brushing:
When do you brush your teeth? What do you do during this very important task? I used to run around the house and do other things to "save time." Two minutes, really? Consider sitting down somewhere and brushing your teeth. Close your eyes and notice which tooth you're on. Which part of it. Notice as you move from one tooth to another. When you get distracted with your stormy thoughts, no worries! Just notice the thought and then return to the teeth. The simple task of returning your focus to the teeth will help improve focus as well!
This can be done any time, anywhere - even while waiting for a red light to turn green. As you breath in and out, notice the air as it passes near your nasal opening. Notice the air on the way in is cool, on the way out it's warm. Notice the tickling sensation inside the nose. Or maybe the coolness as the air rushes over your upper lip. Just lay there and breathe. When you get distracted with your stormy thoughts, no worries! Just notice the thought and then return to the nose. The simple task of returning your focus to the breath will help improve focus as well! If you are able to carve out a 10-15 min chunk of time, it can be real a game changer. Lie down with legs comfortably propped up. Lay your hands on the lower ribs, close your eyes and breathe.
Dr Jim Wittekind is a licensed physical therapist. His main goal is assisting people in learning how to shutdown the system and relax so they can recover and enjoy life. He combines the science of the Postural Restoration Institute with the wisdom of meditation and mindful movement practices to turn down the crazy and enjoy life.