One Quiet Moment

Recently, I had a quiet moment. That might not sound extraordinary but it genuinely made a difference to my mindset.

It had been a busy week with the usual challenges and seemingly overwhelming amount of work to be done in a too short period of time. Best laid plans came undone at various points, requiring regular revision of priorities. Occasionally I would remind myself that I can only do what I can do – perhaps a bit trite but true. Sometimes you just can’t get it all done, and sometimes ‘it’ isn’t as important as you think.

Then I had a moment, poised between work and personal demands. A rare moment when no-one needed anything and my attention wasn’t required elsewhere. It took a while to realise the potential power of such a moment. What to do? The endless loop of to-dos in my head rolled around, but there wasn’t really time to launch into something. What if I just stopped? For a moment?

So I did. I sat in my favourite chair and just looked out the window. The sun was out and the odd cloud moved overhead. I could see blossoms appearing on trees that had until recently been bare after losing their leaves through autumn. There were bees buzzing around the blossoms, something elemental but also something that I rarely have the time to notice, to really see.

This moment of mindfulness, where my breathing slowed and I could really just appreciate what was going on around me, beyond the noise and bustle in my mind, set me up for what came next. And over the last couple of days I have thought back to this moment several times, a smile curving my lips. I need to be mindful more often.

Do you make the most of mindful moments?

[Photo: spring blossoms]

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Mindful Moments

Last week I wrote about routines and rhythms, and of the importance of carving out time for creativity especially when there are other demands upon my time. The post had been inspired by a podcast by Brooke McAlary and Kelly Exeter called Let It Be. In the podcast there was a discussion around the importance of rituals and routines, and how by having a rhythm to your day there was greater scope to be flexible with timeframes depending on what else was happening in your life.

Brooke McAlary has recently released a small book called Destination Simple: Everyday Rituals for a Slower Life. It is an easy read, full of simple but effective ways to live a life with meaning and mindfulness within the realities of modern living. For me it was pleasing to see that there are some things that I am already doing, along with other things that I could incorporate into my life.

Something that resonated with me was mindful moments. Whilst acknowledging that we all multi-task – it is inevitable and often necessary to get through the day – one recommendation was to pick something that you do on a regular basis, such as hanging out laundry, and just do that one thing. Pay attention to the entire process from emptying the clothes from the washing machine into a basket, taking it to the clothes line, hanging it out, feeling the sensation of the sun on the clothes. It sounds simple but I know there are days when I would start such a task with the best of intentions but other thoughts would nudge their way into my mindful state. There are times when I do pull myself up and simply focus on what I am doing, but what it also made me think about was when are the moments that I am really present?

I think that one of my most present states is when I am writing. What I am thinking of is when I am writing creatively, deep in another time or place, when all I can see, think, hear and feel is what is going on in my mind as I watch the words spill onto the page. When in the flow of writing, it is difficult to be aware of anything much else until the flow ceases. It is possibly my most mindful and creative state.

Reading back over work written in this deeper, mindful state is a pleasure on a number of levels. It is usually of a higher quality with a vibrancy that sets it apart from other writing. Perhaps I am conflating the idea of mindfulness with the deeper concentration that comes with creativity, but for me it is a state of being present, when the usual cares and concerns and worries and tasks fade into the background and it is just me and the page.

What do mindful moments look like to you?

[Photo: close up of pink blossom]