Adding the Spice

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.

Envy

Raise your hand if you have ever envied someone?

For the record, my hand is totally up in the air.

According to Oxford Languages, the definition of envy is:

A feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, or luck and desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable attribute belonging to someone else

So yes, I have been envious of people carrying Hermes bags, or going on fantastic trips. However, while I might have a moment of wishing I were that person, I snap back into myself pretty quickly and realize that my life is pretty good, and really, I have everything that I want.

Of course, sometimes I see something that someone else has, and I really want it, but instead of being envious, I just figure out what I need to do to have whatever it is that I desire. I set a goal, make a plan, and just do it.

Someone I know won a writing contest- My thoughts were as follows:

  1. How awesome for the person
  2. I would love to win a writing contest
  3. I can’t win something I never enter
  4. I actually have to have a finished piece to enter into a contest
  5. Let me finish something and send it off

I then finished and sent something off. I did not win, but I somehow feel that I did indeed win by just putting the piece out there. I now regularly work on pieces to submit, and one day I will hopefully win a contest.

What is a better use of my energy: envying something good that happened to someone else, or doing something that would make me more fulfilled?

Our talking points for today are:

  1. How do you define envy?
  2. What is something you’ve envied about another?
  3. Is envy a “normal” emotion that most people feel?
  4. How easy is it to be consumed by envy?
  5. What is the difference between envy and jealousy?

Hocus Focus

I decided I needed to work on improving my focus- so I when I saw an article about improving one’s focus, I jumped right into it.

At the same time I was:

  1. checking my email
  2. monitoring blog comments
  3. watching a show on HGTV
  4. Looking at my TBR to figure out what to read next
  5. petting one or both of my pets
  6. figuring out what time I needed to start dinner
  7. texting my friends and my daughter
  8. figuring out whether or not I needed a pedicure
  9. thinking about what sort of tea I should have
  10. playing a word in Words with Friends
  11. making a list about all the ways that I can improve my focus

Boredom

How many times have we heard someone say “I’m bored.”?

How many times have we said “I’m bored.”?

I admit- I rarely utter the phrase- I tend to think along the lines of- If you’re bored you’re boring…(for the record- there are many who would call me a very boring person, because the things I love tend to be cultural, or sedentary, so it’s all in the perspective)

I guess I don’t use/like the word “bored” because I think it’s OK to sometimes just sit with nothing to do, and no where to go. I don’t call it being bored: I think of it as creative recharging. My favorite time of the day is about 5pm, when I sit in my favorite brown chair, cup of Earl Grey at my side, and I kind of sit and stare at the void. I don’t look at my phone, I don’t have music on, the TV is off, and I’m literally doing nothing but admiring the way a slice of lemon and a cube of sugar completely enhance my drink. Some people think this is boring. Some people would be bored by this. I refer to it as heaven.

Now it’s your turn:

What do you think about being “bored”?

Do you think boredom has a place in our society?

Is boredom a bad thing?

Discuss: