It’s nice to set aside time for mindfulness practice. But did you know that any ordinary moment – including sitting with a coffee – can be the perfect time?
What Is Mindfulness?
The folks at Greater Good have a nice definition of mindfulness: “Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.” It’s about accepting the moment as it is, without judging it as right or wrong.
In other words, we’re tuned in and accepting of what’s going on right now – not in some future time, or in some past state. Now.
When we bring our awareness to the present moment, we become more responsive to life, and less reactive. We act less out of emotions such as rage or anger, and get in touch with the calmer side of who we are.
When we’re grounded in the moment … centered … and we practice doing it daily, we can better assess situations for what they really are, and accept ourselves for who we really are. And that can have huge benefits on our physical and emotional wellbeing. It may even change our brains and lead to greater happiness.
When Is a Good Time for Mindfulness Practice?
The best time to practice mindfulness is whenever you become aware of the need for practice. Any ordinary moment is a good time! Maybe it’s doing a breathing technique (such as 4-8 breathing) during rush-hour traffic or when your kiddo’s screams are starting to overwhelm you. Maybe you’re taking an evening stroll, and you become more aware of your steps on the pavement. Perhaps it’s eating a snack with total focus on smell, taste, and texture.
The opportunities are endless!
The key is to bring your awareness to what you’re doing in the moment, and staying away from the urge to judge it or move away from it. If you are trying to pull weeds mindfully, and you find your mind wandering, gently bring your awareness back to the lawn!
The Mindful Cup of Coffee
I worked as a licensed master social worker for years, and coffee was a big thing for clients – especially during group sessions. And I found that it was the perfect entry point to introduce the power of mindfulness, focus, and quiet meditation, and how to transform an ordinary moment into something quite amazing.
If you want, grab a coffee (or pour your favorite hot drink and tailor the exercise to that), and let’s try it! Remember, it’s about focus. If you find your mind wandering during the practice, gently bring your attention back to the task at hand.
1. Lift the cup. Feel the warmth against your skin. Have you noticed warm before? What is “warm”?
2. Gaze deep into the liquid. Gentle ripples disturb the smooth surface. Your reflection distorts. Notice the waves and wobbles.
3. Add milk or cream (if you want). A billowing cloud. White and dark swirl in a liquid dance with no rules. What is the shape of no shape?
4. Breathe it in. The aroma – smoky and robust. Beans once whole and solid now have their power released to the air. The earth is in you.
5. Remember. Food and drink hold memories. This coffee. This drink. A sidewalk café and good conversation long ago.
6. Take a sip. Satisfyingly bitter. Simply sweet. You’re renewed as it descends.
7. Place the cup down. A noise as the cup touches another surface – is the pitch high or low? Is the contact light or heavy?
8. Be here. Maybe you smile. Maybe you’re calm. Maybe you have no reaction. Maybe you just … are.
Any Moment Can Be a Mindful Moment
Any moment is a chance for mindfulness practice, so make it a habit through the day. Whether on a lunch break at work, a bench in the park, or sitting with a cup of coffee, turn your attention to what’s happening now. Focus on how the moments of life make you feel and think.
Get to know what’s going on with you, and check in with yourself.
Give yourself over to the ordinary moments of life, and see if they don’t just turn into an extraordinary habit that can change your life.
If you want to explore the power of mindfulness, consider a coaching session, check out my free Mindfulness Quickstart Guide, or peruse the tips and tools in my novel, An Audible Silence. Let’s connect on Instagram!