We talk a lot about mindfulness in yoga and other energy practices. There are lots of flashy techniques that promise to help clear our mind. The one thing I have found though is that whatever techniques you use, you always end up with YOU!! Rather than practicing a specific method now I am challenging myself to be mindful during mundane jobs. The kind of task which you can do without really paying attention. Here your mind usually wanders to all sorts of amazing places (well mine does anyway).
Today I was hedge cutting. Apart from not injuring myself on the power tools, all I had to really focus on was the shape of the hedge. Normally my mind starts to wander quite quickly but today I challenged myself to stay in the moment. It didn't take long before my mind and I have to say my body got annoyed with the process. I became resentful at the task, achy and irritated by the amount still to do. Instead of stopping for a teabreak ( which my body was screaming at me to do) I stopped took a long breath and started to really pay attention to what I was cutting.
I began to notice the shape of the leaves. My hedge is old and has a huge variety of vegetation. I saw curvy matt oak leaves and glossy smooth ivy, leaves with edges tinted in purple and tiny new buds of bramble which, would now not produce those delicious blackberries. My job had became much less of a chore and more of a joy. This lasted about 5 minutes! My body then starting to complain. Arms began to signal they were aching from holding the clippers high over my head, trying to get me to stop. Again I stopped took a breath and actively relaxed the muscles which were complaining.
This process continued for about an hour. Like the tennis we are all enjoying at Wimbledon this week. Back and forth my mind and body went against my intention to stay with the job at hand. It is hard this mindfulness. We come up against all the aspects of our character which stop us completing things, boredom, discomfort, distraction to name just three.
next time you have a job to do try it for yourself. Not a job or hobby you love. Focusing on something that interests you is easier, try it with the truly mundane. That thing you put off for weeks because it's boring. Observe that monkey mind of yours jump around in an effort to escape. Staying with that process is where the prize is. No one says it will be easy though............