How many times have you heard someone remark that time goes by so quickly? That it seems to be moving faster than it used to? There are still 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week, yet there are times when this does not feel like enough. While we may not be able to create more time, we can make better use of the time we do have by being mindful. Being mindful means observing what we are doing without judgment and being fully aware and present while we are doing it. It is a very simple, yet very powerful, concept.
Bring to mind a simple everyday task, such as rinsing out a cup. A lot of people would say they do this without thinking. But actually they are thinking so much about other things that they are not fully present and before they know it, the cup is rinsed and they move on to their next task. Rinsing a cup is such a mundane task that the brain can instruct our bodies to perform it without requiring too much awareness, freeing up the mind to think about other things. This is not good. We do one thing but think about another. Our thoughts and our actions are not in alignment. This is why we feel as though we are jumping from one thing to another constantly throughout the day and at the end of the day, do we feel peaceful and satisfied with our achievements? No. We think about what did not get done yet and when we are going to do it.
When we are present, when we truly experience what it is that we are doing, we gain a new appreciation for things we never had before. Time seems to slow down, at least for a little while. We see things in a new perspective and are able to think more clearly.
Next time you need to rinse out a cup, begin by holding the cup in your hands. Feel its texture and its weight. Look at its colour or pattern. See the tea or coffee stains in the cup; notice what marks they have left. Take a dishcloth and feel that too. Dab some soap on it and run water. Look at the water falling from the tap. Hold your hand beneath it and feel the flow over your skin. How does it feel? Let the water pour into the cup; see how it lands. What does it sound like? Continue to rinse out the cup in this manner.
When you are done, take a moment to observe how you feel. Do you feel calmer than you did before? Do you feel like you took a short break from your daily activities and now you can go back to what you were doing, refreshed? Every so often, however often feels right to you, stop before doing something and then consciously do it in a mindful manner. You will be glad you did.