Take a moment to pause ... Invite a deep breath into your body and then let it go ... What do you notice?
I am fascinated more and more by the rich layers of sounds, sights, smells, and sense of touch that are continually present, yet rarely get my attention. We're inundated with sensory experiences and overstimulated much of the time. So it's easy to become numb or miss what's happening around us. We are blessed to be part of an intricate, ever-changing, awe-inspiring tapestry of life. Using the senses to connect with that can be magical.
Mindfulness can be like finding tiny pockets of wonder and awe. It connects me to what is actually there in the moment.
That's why I especially love early morning walks with my boys. There is a sweet solitary sense of connection with what's around me. Without the usual traffic or man-made noises creeping into the day just yet, there is space for my senses to open and awaken. Rather than trying to sort and focus through all the chaos when I'm on overload, it's freeing.
I notice the flutter of the leaves in the wind, the sound of my shoes against the gravel, the feel of the breeze on my skin. Carrying over that attention to sensory details, I decided to make banana pancakes when we got home.
I found myself noticing the crinkle of the bag of oats, the scent of cinnamon, the cool metal of the measuring spoons in my hand, the tiny coconut oil bubbles at the edges as the pancakes sizzle on the griddle. Every part of making those pancakes was more enjoyable because I was so present. Needless to say, they tasted even better as well. :)
Mindfulness also helps me appreciate that no moment is ever the same as the last. It's all fleeting. Sounds come and go, light and shadow change subtly, the wind shifts. All we have is this moment. And now this moment. So I try to remember to soak up what I can of this experience while I'm lucky enough to be here.
A sense of awe occurs often when I can drop into presence. It helps me slow down, calm my racing thoughts, relax my body, and remind me that I'm connected to something much larger than myself. Ah, thank goodness for perspective. And banana pancakes.
I invite you to take a moment (or several) today to simply notice what's around you through your senses. Notice how things change from moment to moment and be ok with letting each experience go to make room for the next. And remember to breathe.
Sample practice: Notice what you hear. What sound wave comes to greet your ears next? ... Gently shift your attention to what you see. What sort of movement do you notice around you? What about colors? ... Bring your awareness to your your sense of touch. Can you feel your feet making contact with the ground or the texture of your socks? What tiny details stand out for you as you tap into your sensory experience?
Notice what happened to your thoughts as you did this. Notice how your body feels afterward. Practices like these can be done in just seconds, but the benefits they can bring are long-lasting. If you would ever like to experience guided meditation, I offer 1-1 sessions to help you cultivate these types of experiences. (Potawatomi Wildlife Park)