Arts and Health, Sisters is devoted to exploring creative problem solving and coping strategies in our world, especially the links between artistic expression and personal and spiritual growth. It is also dedicated to honoring the value and power of women.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mindfulness in Action

The last 10 days of meditation have been about combining mindfulness sitting meditation with mindfulness while engaged in activity. I continue to find meditation works better for me in the evening more so than in the morning, when I am more rushed. I suppose when or if I become more mindful the morning will also work just as well!

These are some activities I find I can use mindfulness and find a sense of peace in the moment:

-Washing the Dishes: The water, the soap, the bubbles. The visual and sensual aspects help me find this chore somewhat soothing. Being aware and curious about my thoughts, I have the urge to rush through. But is there really something more urgent than having clean dishes right at this moment? Am I berating myself for having delayed doing the chore? Am I expecting a certain outcome (this will take too long, for example)? It offers an opportunity to practice mindfulness and to get to know myself better, to observe myself with a gentle curiosity and then return to what I'm doing, and as a bonus have more clean dishes at the end.

-Knitting or Drawing: These activities also have a physical and a tactile focus. The pull of the yarn around the needles and my fingers, noticing how tight or lose I hold the yarn and the needles. Watching how I react when I make a mistake. In knitting I like noticing that I can take the stitches out when a stitch or a pattern doesn't work out, and start again. In drawing I can learn to alter what I've drawn into something a bit different than I had planned, or simply put my effort aside and start again. Life doesn't offer "do-overs" so frequently. Yet it is possible to shift my focus from the "mess-up" to gently start again. And also to keep in mind that the bigger pattern of life is not in my control.

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