This simple quote by Thich Nhat Hanh appeared in my Facebook feed as I was madly swapping between emails, Facebook and five other tasks. It stopped me in my tracks.
I had found some energy and was quickly trying to get some things done. Tidying, cleaning, organising before my regular reading time at school. I had literally just made myself a cup of tea when I saw this and straight away made the choice to do just that.
Drink my tea.
I took my mug out to the back verandah and sat facing the garden. The dog immediately jumped into my lap. It was then I noticed what my heart was doing… racing. And the space around it ached and felt tight. Ouch.
An overactive fight or flight response has been plaguing me for some years. All that adrenaline and cortisol, it can play havoc with your health. I had just been doing a few things but I had triggered a completely disproportionate hormonal response. No sabre tooth tiger was about to leap on me. I didn’t need super strength to lift a car off an injured person. I didn’t even have any pressing deadlines.
So, back to my tea and a few moments of mindfulness.
I noticed the birds, chirping, flapping, cawing, cooing.
The swish of tires on the wet road out the front.
The hum of traffic on the main road a couple of blocks over.
I gave a few involuntary deep sighs. My shoulders dropped ever so slightly. And then a bit more.
The rain pattering lightly on the leaves, then heavier on the metal roof.
The weight and warmth of the dog on my lap. The silkiness of his freshly washed coat.
The cool of the air on my arms after a couple of warm days and a very sticky morning.
The slats of the wooden chair against my back.
More breaths. Hands on heart. Breathe. A gradual release of that tightness.
I returned to my sorting feeling completely different. Relaxed but purposeful. Re-connected.
Even when we don’t have external deadlines or dangers it’s so easy for our mind to trick us and to end up feeling rushed, stressed and overwhelmed. I encourage you to take 5 or 10 minutes to be mindful as an act of self-care. It doesn’t need to be something specific to add into your day, another thing on the to do list.
Sit and just drink your tea.
Focus on the water on your skin in the shower.
Your hands on your face when you moisturise.
I guarantee you’ll feel so much better for it.
What tiny bites of mindfulness can you incorporate into your day?