I’ve been on a rather circuitous route towards mindfulness. I’m actively trying to become more mindful, more present in the journey, but sometimes life manages to sneak in and I have to get all pragmatic. But yet, I try.

One mindfulness exercise that I have come across is about making daily activities more mindful- to actually find peace, and daresay enjoyment out of something that is quite banal.

Hmmm

When I am doing household stuff, I tend to have on music or a TV show in the background. This is my way of making things better, but singing along to the Doobies or watching a house go from fixer to fabulous isn’t exactly being mindful…

So how do you make the tiresome details of your life more mindful?

Here’s what I tried:

I started with cooking: I already like cooking, so you would think it would be easy to throw in some mindful moments. However, stopping to smell the aromas of cooking went from being a pleasant, heady experience to an moment that felt sort of false- I ended up looking like Pepe Le Pew holding his nose aloft and being haughty…

Fail

I tried it when changing the litter. Yeah…there is nothing mindful about dumping litter from the box to the waiting bag in the garbage. As much as I tried, I could not focus on making my cat’s environment better: I could only focus on getting the task done as quickly as possible.

Fail

Laundry? From wheeling my cart down the hall, waiting for the elevator, hoping the big machine is free and in working order- this was not a mindful moment. This was a bit of wishing, hoping and not quite dreaming but a whole lot of wait and see…

Fail

Cleaning the bathroom? Seriously- can wiping under the rim of the toilet ever be a joyful experience?

Fail

Mopping?

Fail

Dusting

Sneezy fail

You get the idea. Try as I might I can’t find the moment of solace in doing everyday household chores. I can’t focus on thinking that the meal I make will nourish my family or the shelf I dust will make the surface sparkle. I live in NYC- there’s dust ten seconds after I’ve dusted. I don’t even get a moment to savor the dust free surface… I can’t help but think that trying to feel mindful about the day to day is really what a fool believes…

While I can try to be more mindful of my moments, I’m going to have to choose which moments to savor, and which moments to endure. I don’t think I’m cut out to be in the moment every moment.

62 thoughts on “Adding the Spice

  1. I am the same. My mind wanders, I lose focus. My mother taught me, without saying any words, that it isn’t mindfulness that is always needed. It’s intention. She was a master of intention when doing daily tasks. While she worked, she thought about who she was benefitting from the task and her love for them. She literally infused her love of people into her chores. She thought about the happiness it would bring us and it made doing the chore brighter for her. She taught us to leave it better than we found it. She cooked with love and anticipation of how much we would enjoy it. She was an artist, spreading her love around by making things lovely and tasty and she was a master at it. Now I’ve been a house keeper for many years and those skills help me everyday to make other peoples spaces intentionally better than I found them.

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  2. Oh my friend, I feel your pain!

    I’m a list making, task oriented type of gal.

    One thing that helps is treating every task as an act of worship. Stay with me….even the mundane tasks like cleaning the toilet and changing the cat litter can be an act of worship because we are serving our loved ones….therefore we are serving God….that my friend is worship!

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  3. Hmmm, I think it depends on one’s interpretation of the word mindful. The definition is to be observant, aware. So from what I know about you it seems to me you are already mindful. You are extremely aware and curious about all subject matters. So perhaps you ARE being mindful when you are doing mundane chores. You are just very aware of how tedious those things are.

    I choose to focus on what brings me joy. At this stage in life I try my best NOT to focus on what makes me unhappy. I’ve been told my entire life that I think TOO much, worry too much, notice Too much. So would a person like me need to be less mindful?

    Dealing with health issues I’ve had to tone down being too aware. To feel less, worry less, and focus on less politics, and more things that I can appreciate and enjoy. More positivity. I try to laugh more, find more joy wherever I can.
    Everyone finds happiness differently. If you are interested in something it brings you joy. So you are likely more mindful than you think.. You like to cook. So you find happiness in that. I actually don’t mind washing clothes at all. I just wish I had a clone who enjoyed removing them from the dryer. Ugh! Lol

    I think it’s good to go out of our comfort one now and then, but I think being thoughtful and observant is always a good idea. And each of us should find what we enjoy doing. I have a friend who goes to a knitting group a few times a week. .( I’d rather stick a pin in my eye than knit. Ugh.. but she said she enjoys it for socializing). That never occurred to me. I then realized I could go to chat group anywhere. That what my friend enjoys. It’s not the knitting. (She’s actually terrible at knitting).

    We all do our best, I think, to find what brings us mindfulness.

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      1. Yep! So, LA you know you certainly are aware of that! Lol
        Music for me makes any task easier to tolerate. I hate to exercise. And that goes back to my days of sitting on the floor listening to Jane Fonda tell me to “feel the burn”. I’d yell at my tape or video and tell Jane to F the burn. Because I hated the “burn”. Lol
        I don’t mind walking or doing something fun, but purposely trying to push my body into doing things that hurt were never my type of fun. Lol But on some “Good old rock n roll and I’m up and dancing. Show tunes work to. Over the years I washed many a floor to the music of Broadway hits!

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  4. I listen to podcasts while I clean and exercise and it makes the time go by. This doesn’t mean I’m not being mindful. Many times, someone says something, and I say, “a-ha” and think about that. I don’t think one excludes the other. Speaking of podcasts, do you listen to “Mom’s Don’t Have Time to Read?” She features a new book/author every day. As a book lover, I think you’d enjoy it.

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  5. I always have background noise going on — podcasts, music, TV. My mindfulness moment is in the afternoon when all my work is done. I sit on the sofa in our casita. The cat sits on my lap and I enjoy the moment.

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  6. Yeah, I’d have trouble being mindful when cleaning the bathroom too. I find that walking the dog is definitely when I am mindful. Of course, I’m listening to a meditation on the Calm app when I’m out there so that probably helps.

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  7. Is there an unwritten rule that one must be mindful in every moment? That sounds like a chore and totally not what I want to embrace. Some things are just not fun, not enjoyable and are just as you note: tasks that have to be accomplished. Are we going too far overboard in the notion that we must always reflect and find something positive or good or satisfying with everything we do?

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    1. Yeah….I don’t think we are all meant to be Snow White or whoever it was that used the fairyland creatures to help with housework

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  8. Oh how I love this LA! What I appreciate as I age is that I don’t have to rush through chores, cooking, writing or reading and that alone creates a mindful opportunity. My favorite mindful activity happens after the chore. This is when I reward myself with coffee, or a snack, and permission to put my feet up and just be. Carry on…hugs, C

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  9. I’ve tried mindfulness activities and it just doesn’t work for me. I feel bored or get distracted or my thoughts start wandering. Then I feel agitated for not being able to engage. I’ve pretty much given up on the idea of being able to make it happen. I truly admire those who can.

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  10. Cracking up! I totally agree there are some chores that you just can’t be real mindful with. I prefer to listen to my audible book when doing those chores. That provides some cheer to the task. 🙂

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  11. I am happiest listening to music while doing anything. Sometimes the music makes me feel a bit mindful I think. But mostly I find I have to meditate rather that trying to be mindful in household tasks!

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  12. I think we’d all go crazy if we tried to be mindful in each and every moment. I tend to believe only Buddhist monks can be mindful every minute of the day. I mean, that’s what they chose the calling for, right? Plus, they have the time.

    What I’ve started doing, instead is being more present in specific moments. Am I splitting hairs, here? I don’t know. But for example, I find it satisfying to put my phone down when my husband is talking to me, actually look him in the eye, and listen, no matter how boring I perceive the conversation. That is more doable for me, than being (insert big ole air quotes) mindful.

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