How brushing my teeth taught me to be mindful
How brushing my teeth taught me to be mindful.
When I think about it, taking care of myself was never really a priority. Yes, I would look after myself by buying things and taking trips to the salon but I was always in a rush to do something else.
I was always working towards another goal that had to be achieved. Even as a young girl in school I had high standards and expectations of myself. I wasn’t satisfied with doing one activity or having one hobby.
I always found myself juggling several balls in the air. I carried that over to my adult life where I would juggle multiple projects and even jobs.
Living life on fast forward
The stresses of life became almost routine to me. I was busy trying to finish one thing while thinking about the next. I can remember doing things like:
- Watching videos on youtube and skillshare, or any educational product I was trying to absorb on 2x speed just so that I could maximize my time and move on to the next thing. (Not the best way to learn anything I might add)
- Having more than 30 tabs on my computer open at the same time and constantly being distracted by something else and forgetting what I was doing in the first place. Ohh yeah, I was very productive!
- Downloading e-book after e-book and allowing them to collect dust on my hard drive because I would never get around to reading any of them. It was an impressive collection though!
Don’t get me wrong, being multi-passionate is a good thing and I’m not criticizing myself for the many interests that I wanted to pursue at the same time. The real problem with this scenario is how I went about pursuing them.
A shocking discovery – the brushing teeth thing
One day I noticed that while I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth I was standing with one foot on the ground and the other on tiptoe with my body slightly tilted and slanted towards the door. I was not fully there. That simple standing position startled me because it was a physical manifestation of where my mind was, in two places at once.
Over the course of several months, I would catch myself standing in that ready to go position again and again; even when I had nowhere else to go. I had trained my body and my mind to not be fully present.
That’s when I realized that I had to reprogramme my mind.
Now I’m actively trying to be present in every moment no matter how simple or insignificant it may seem. It doesn’t happen all the time because hey I’m human. What’s important is that I am aware when I’m doing it. Then, I can adjust my mind, body and try to honor myself and that moment.
Here are a few ways you can slow down and be present:
Spend time in nature.
Take your shoes off, stand on the grass or the earth with both feet and just be still for a few minutes. I’m serious. Practice doing this on a daily basis for a week. It will center you. Miracles happen when you just stand and be still.
Take notice of your breath.
Take a big inhale through the nose and blow out through the mouth. Do this 3 times and notice if your breathing changes. The breath brings us back to ourselves. It slows us down. You can’t help but be in the moment when you’re observing your breath.
When you worry it means you’re either living in the past and worrying about something that happened already or you’re living in the future and are anxious about something that hasn’t yet happened. A part of my daily self-care practice is to repeat the principles of Reiki which includes: Just for today I will not worry. I encourage you to do the same. Every time you observe that you’re feeling worried or anxious repeat the principle. Just for today, I will not worry.
It’s as simple as noticing the smells, sights, and sounds around you. It’s not easy to always be mindful so I suggest you even set an alarm to remind you that the next 5 minutes are dedicated to just being present. Whether you’re at home, at the office, or sitting at a cafe, it doesn’t matter. Just take those 5 minutes and observe what’s happening around you.
Being in the moment can also mean being in the flow and allowing yourself to lose track of time. Put on a song that you love, close your eyes and just move! Enjoy the song and just dance. Try to block any distracting thoughts that may bring up nostalgia or memories associated with the song. That’s living in the past. Enjoy the moment.
Far too often we spend time worrying about what happened, being anxious about what we need to do tomorrow and not enough time enjoying the now. Being present is a form a self-care that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Today, slow down, be present with yourself, your family, friend or nature. Enjoy the little things in life and be in the flow.
Love and light.