Everyone is on the mindfulness bandwagon. We read articles, watch videoblogs, listen to podcasts, read books, write in journals- in short, we work really hard to learn and practice mindfulness. Sometimes, all this mindfulness can become overwhelming- it feels like another goal to attain in an already packed arena of goals, criteria and responsibilities. Too often, the stressors of daily life and our obligations overrun our wishes, and mindfulness becomes another aspiration put on the back burner for a time when we have more time. It is very akin to dieting or exercise!
What if we stopped all the buzz? What if we calmed ourselves to listen to what makes us happy? I’m not talking about contentedness or satisfaction. I’m talking about a smile from ear to ear- the kind of joy that makes you skip like when you were a child.
If you were to do that- what would you find? I think you might find creativity waiting to be unleashed and explored. In my case, that kind of mindful creativity manifests itself in cooking. I love to cook and create in the kitchen. Most of all, I love the feeling of nurturing others through food. Let me put on some music, give me a chopping board and a chef’s knife and I go into a zone. I find a rhythm and a groove, and I don’t want anyone to help me. This is my space- a space I can control and which makes me so happy! When I serve up whatever I have made, the connection I feel to whomever I happen to be feeding makes me so happy – big smile, ear to ear, skipping around! It also makes those I am feeding very happy too.
Mindfulness should not feel like a monumental undertaking. I have a very difficult time journaling. Despite the best efforts of a dear friend who insists that writing things down will get me out of my head and into my heart, I feel it is a chore. I find that I feel great when I am in the kitchen concentrating on a difficult recipe, and I find I feel even better when I make my family breakfast. I also feel the buzz of being in the zone when a real estate transaction comes together, and I see that I will help a client achieve their goal- selling, buying, financing, leasing, whatever that may be.
I have come to realize that not all mindfulness is created equal. When we look at only one way of doing a task, and often, we turn to the conventional way of performing that task – be it meditating, journaling, breathing, cooking, real estate closings- we lose sight of an opportunity to find a creative way to achieve the goal and take a journey where we can learn and grow. We often forget to applaud the small stuff- the small steps to a more positive attitude and outlook. We need to think about success in terms of progress and not perfection.
If we can translate into our daily lives that feeling of happiness and creativity, even once a week, we have buoyed ourselves and nourished our souls and that fuels us to keep moving forward. It is the small steps, on an as often as possible basis, that lift us up and make us better for ourselves, our families, our colleagues, and our clients.
The next time you feel you are not living up to self-imposed expectations of the perfect meditation session or mindful living, stop. Listen to your inner child, create something that will make you smile and skip, and then try to apply that feeling to your daily routine, whatever that may be.
I’m happy to share my tiramisu recipe with you!