Don’t wait for joy to find you. Allow the perceptions of your daily life to shift from a dreary autopilot to a dynamic actor at center-stage. Allow yourself to shape your own mind, rather than allowing your circumstances to shape it for you. You can do this with mindfulness and an attitude of non-judging.
Start with mindfulness in the little things. When you are washing the dishes, only think about the simple act of scrubbing. Take in the fragrance of the soap and feel the warm bubbles on your skin. Don’t fret about your nagging list of “to dos.” Be in the moment, for the future will care for itself. Only meditate in the absolute simplicity of the here and now.
Other “mindless” tasks that can become mindful:
1. Picking up after your children: Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the monotony of picking up the same ten toys for the tenth day in a row, count your blessings. Each toy was afforded by your financial ability or from a loving family member or friend. Think of that instead. Or, think about how each of those toys gave your child joy today.
2. Making your bed: Like I’ve posted before, making your bed can get a little old. We do it every day, right? Instead of rushing through the familiar motions, thank God that you have a warm bed to sleep in. Never forget that millions of people don’t…
3. Preparing dinner: Some people LOVE to cook, so they are already mindful. Their pure joy and passion already makes them a mindful cook. But for those of us who aren’t Julia Childs, we need to learn to be mindful for the evolution of food. We are blessed it is so widely available, as millions of people can’t count on their next meal. Healthy food choices nourish our bodies and souls. When we are cutting or dicing or chopping or cleaning, we can take joy in those small steps which will lead to a meal. And that meal brings our family and friends together. Be mindful that it is a blessing and that it is an investment in your loved ones health and happiness.
The next crucial step is to practice approaching difficult tasks and challenges with a non-judging attitude. Our mind tells our emotions what to feel and our body how to act. If we have a peaceful mindfulness in our dealings with others, we will be fully present and in control. When we practice non-judging we will be less likely to spiral into a fit of anxiety or irritability. And we will be more likely to achieve a comforting homeostasis in a raging storm.
Non-judging tasks and challenges:
1. Traffic jams: Every day that you leave in your vehicle, especially in a busy city, you are leaving your realm of control and entering the beehive of society. It is inevitable that you will get stuck in traffic, be cut-off, or experience a fender-bender. It is hard to accept, but we often have no control over these circumstances. So rather than allowing your brain to judge the traffic as something that angers you or tests your patience, allow yourself to think nothing at all of the traffic. Create a bubble around yourself. Listen to music or talk radio that calms you and puts your mind on higher things. Simply focus on being the best driver you can be, and when traffic gets bad or someone cuts you off, allow it to have no effect on you. Continue to be non-judging and be certain you are only emitting positive energy into the world.
2. Angry co-worker: This is a tough one. You colleague is a difficult person, maybe an erratic ticking-time bomb. They are confrontational and quick to call you out. Instead on allowing their toxic energy to suck you in, practicing non-judging. Deny your ego’s kneejerk reaction to engage or make harsh judgments. This only puts out more negative energy and gives an abundance of air to an already fiery entity. Instead, accept that that behavior is your colleague’s way. It is not yours. Limit your interactions and never return their low-blows with a similar energy. Ignore their nasty e-mails, or if you must, reply in a neutral tone. As hard as it may be, work at understanding your angry colleague rather than judging them. There is certainly a decaying burden at the root of their anger.
3. Challenging family members: Family is, well, complicated. We get caught up in our roles, our complicated histories, and unfulfilled expectations. Because of these intricacies, we have scars and open wounds. Instead of making a judgment on your family member’s choices or lifestyle, try to understand them. If your father has never shown your affection or validation, don’t allow your ego to judge him an inept man. He may not fulfill your rightful needs, but there is still goodness to be found. Try instead to understand him and his life-view. Look into his past, and you may find a glimpse of clarity that allows for your understanding. Let this understanding bring you the peace to rise above the difficulties of an imperfect relationship and give you the validation you so desperately seek.
In the end, mindfulness and non-judging are choices we must make. They determine the world we see and the life we will live. So much of this great Earth is uncontrollable. And our mind, which is the map for our spirits, is the only thing we can control. We must choose our prism and the space our soul will inhabit.
Peace and blessings to you on this beautiful day,
The Universal Soul