Monday, February 09, 2015

The Mantra for 2015 - Mindfulness

As I continued to read The Happiness Project, one of the most significant things to catch my eye was the mention of "Mindfulness". The author wrote about driving a car to a destination, and on reaching there, realizing that she had no memory of the route she took to get there. When meeting people for the first time, she didn't have a memory of most details she might have heard about them. And so on. That was my Aha moment! When I used to drive to work everyday, there were days when I would be at my workplace 8 km away with no memory of driving any part of the route. I also have an abysmal memory for names and details, and have to keep asking folks where I might know them from! Putting it down to a bad memory though didn't seem to cut it, as I could remember many other things well enough!

It struck me that this lack of mindfulness is the reason that I sometimes drop things, cut my fingers while chopping veggies, and often feel stressed when I'm doing something. That's because even for the most mundane activity, my mind is still racing on at 100 miles a second thinking of a zillion other things to be done or that I should be doing at that point of time! Do I hear a small voice saying “Get organized!” – yes yes that’s coming too but I get to choose which habit I adopt first ;). So as a small change for February, and hopefully forever after, I have picked to be mindful of whatever I am doing at that moment. I have been trying it already for the last few weeks, and it takes some doing! Especially while chopping veggies, my fingers are very thankful that I have started being more mindful ;).

Source: http://bit.ly/1ANQTaa

Parenting is a big part of my life and mindfulness is even more important where the kids are concerned. Giving them my full attention when I am with them is something I have read about in many parenting articles now, as I'm sure you have too ;). I do try very hard to do this, but some chore or deadline always looms large and it is just so easy to listen or respond with half your mind and plan or do something else at the same time. As a part of this habit, of my own Happiness Project you might say, I hereby decide that even if it is just a half hour in a day that I am spending focused time with the kids, it shall be 100% of my attention.

Note: I had heard the term "mindfulness" in the context of a type of meditation or therapy, which is a surefire indication that I might go to sleep in the middle of it. It was such a great coincidence that a friend mentioned this resource on her FB timeline, as I was in the process of writing this post. I am definitely going to check out www.headspace.com as a part of my mindfulness journey.

16 comments:

  1. 'Mindfulness' - Perhaps a phrase that I need to incorporate a lot more into my vocabulary :) I have trouble with concentration and often flit back and forth between stuff. And most of all, my writing suffers because of that. Or actually most things I try to do. Maybe I should be 'mindful' of the task at hand and then cancel all distractions. Interesting post, Aparna.

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    1. Thanks for dropping in and for sharing your view Sid. I am so irregular in the blogosphere now that I've not caught up on any of your recent posts, will do that soon!

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  2. I have been hearing this from you for a while now. Really itching to get to that chapter but will wend my way there slowly. For now, the happiness quotient is working well and my other commitments are keeping the status quo. As for you, I think you underestimate yourself too often. You are also one of the most mindfully engaged in FB discussions that I know of. Enjoy this phase and may it be an eternal one :)

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    1. We haven't discussed the book in a while. I'm sure you might have got to that chapter by now Shailaja, as I'm so late replying to your comment ;)

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  3. Something even I need to adopt. I guess it is our wish to do everything perfectly and please everyone that results in chaos within the mind. For example, in my case I want to keep everyone happy. And thus I end up disappointing almost everyone. In short, there seems to be a panchavadhyam happening inside my head.

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    1. LOL Panchavadyam is a good way of putting it :). So much background music going on in our heads all the time, and I found it's not doing me any good. Time to turn off that volume or at least reduce it. Thanks for dropping in and commenting Rekha :).

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  4. I find myself doing that all the time! I call it flying through life with my head firmly planted up my ass. Really no excuse for it, just seems to be the way I roll these days although i am certainly trying to do better! ♥

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    1. LOL Kathy, that's one way of describing it ;). I do make it work most of the time, but sometimes it all just gets to me. So, time for some mindfulness, at least some of the time :D. Thanks for dropping in and commenting!

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  5. Mindfulness is something that I have been aspiring to achieve more often since last year. Yes, it works. I have incorporated it in small ways. And you know, Aparna, meditation actually energizes and relaxes. It won't put you to sleep. :)

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    1. Yes, I've heard that Rachna, but somehow not able to wrap my head around it yet. Mindfulness definitely has made a difference to me too, the little that I've tried it out :). Thanks for dropping in and commenting!

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  6. Don't take so much pressure...Just let things be for a while and everything will fit like the pieces of a puzzle...It happens you know...there is so much to do but so little time, what can one do ryt?

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    1. Thanks for dropping in and commenting Naba :). I do usually let things be, but sometimes that can backfire so I'm trying other strategies ;). Will let you know how it goes!

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  7. That's so required Aparna. The 100% time we give to a task is far more productive than any less. And with kids, 100% is only way to give quality time. I am in the same boat..and many times have to consciously drag myself back to the present. All the best ! Btw, if you have forgotten, the name's Asha ;)

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    1. Asha, there's no way I could forget you or your writing! Yes, absolutely agree that 100% at a few things is satisfying than 40% at a zillion things :).

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  8. Makes a lot of sense Aparna. That bit about meeting people and not remembering anything about them is so true for me. Even when I'm doing something as simple as writing a blogpost, I often have four or five tabs open (I have 6 open even now!) and I flit between pages crazily making the blogpost take ages. Giving anything your full concentration is the key I guess! Need to remember that.

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    1. Thanks Tulika, I've been trying to follow it as much as I can. Succeeded in the cutting veggies area at least ;), no more chopped fingers after that.

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