Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Daily chores and the art a moving meditation

     Who has time to meditate and pause anymore?  Our days seems to be filled with millions of little events.  There are 86,400 seconds in a day.  How many of these 86,400 seconds are unaccounted for, open for free-time or just sitting around?  If you are like most people here in the US, I'm guessing very few.  So who has time to meditate or pause within this day of 86,400 seconds?  We all do!  Maybe not a formal meditation but we all have time for a moving meditation.

   Within each day, we all have repeating tasks, daily chores or consistent habits.  Brushing teeth, washing dishes, eating, driving to work, putting on makeup or feeding your dog.  Everyday we have a few minutes here and there that we don't need to focus on because we have done it a million times.

    Here is an idea to play with this new year:  The daily practice of pausing and being present.

  This practice is a moving meditation to be done in the course of your normal daily activities.  It isn't about adding on to your already full list but pausing withing those 86,400 daily seconds and giving yourself a good dose of TLC.

     What is in a pause?  A pause is an interruption of mind chattering, pressing, constant movement, brain disconnected and shallow breath that fills our days and seconds.

  Here is the challenge I give to you:
      Pick a task- any task will do.  Your task needs to be something you do daily for about 2-20 minutes.  It can be anything from cooking dinner, washing your face, night time dishes, taking your dog for a walk, or driving to work.  The most important part is picking one daily event to ground your practice in that event.  This event/task/chore keeps you from forgetting or getting off track.  When you prepare to brush your teeth- BING! This is your trigger- whatever task you pick- is your trigger to begin.

    And once you have picked your trigger- what next?
As you enter your task you take a deep breath, you stand or sit a little taller- extending your spine tall,   you breathe again and this time you relax your shoulders.  As you breathe in you breathe in deeply   holding this breath for a second or two.  When you release your breath your posture is tall but your shoulders let go and relax fully.  As you breathe again you smile- just a little smile like a little thank you kind of smile.  As you breathe out you let your smile relax with your shoulders.  As you continue to breathe, smile, and release, your whole focus comes to the present moment. Letting your senses strengthen this practice.  As you pause and breathe, you relax and smile.  As you pause and breathe you stand a little taller and now you feel your feet and notice you are grounded in the present moment.  As you breathe and smile and are grounded you listen a little clearer, you can look around and notice where you are, you take a second and feel your own energy,  If you are eating can taste deeper, savoring each bite, you can catch a whiff of the aromas around you.  You continue breathing, smiling and relaxing your shoulders.  Your posture is tall and your feet grounded.  Your breath continues to deepen, slow and expand into your back and abdomen.  Life gets a little easier and you will feel refreshed.

    This little practice, sandwiched within our busy day is incredibly rejuvenating.  Meditation doesn't have to be done at a yoga studio or in lotus position, it can be done while chopping carrots for dinner.  My grandmothers both had daily farms when they were my age.  Their days were busy and full of hard work.  Going off to meditate was not an option, they used their daily chores as their meditation.  We can do that to, maybe we don't milk cows but we do something everyday.  Pick a task and make it a mindfully quiet place to breathe and see what happens.

Wishing you all a happy new year and a lot of restorative pauses.

 5 minutes has 300 seconds within.  300 seconds can change your life