Every day many of us do the same thing day in day out. We get up, get dressed, grab a quick breakfast and head out the door.
We drop the kids at school, go to work, or work our way through our to do list, we are on AUTO PILOT.
Let’s use the morning commute as an example. We step out of our front door, hop in the car, put the key in the ignition, fasten our seat belt and drive without giving it a second thought. Sometimes we arrive at our destination having not taken any of our journey in at all. For the most part our minds aren’t on the journey or even the driving at all, but on the next task in our day or even later in the week. Instead of being mindful and taking our journey in we may allow ourselves to think about that conversation we had with a friend last night. “I hope I didn’t offend her when I said that” or “What time did we say we would meet at the gym. We listen to our internal monologue, “I must not forget to pay that bill, Did I lock the front door, what are we going to have for dinner tonight”.
Let’s step out of auto pilot for a moment. When was the last time you really enjoyed that first cup of tea in the morning, not just enjoyed it but really appreciated it, noticed how good that first sip felt as it slips down your throat warming you up from the inside out. When did you last take in the smell of the coffee brewing? enjoyed the rich aroma as you entered the kitchen. When we step out of auto pilot we become more aware of our surroundings, thoughts and feelings in the moment. We are able to live in the present. This is mindfulness, by being present in the moment we are able to enjoy things for what they are without worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. We notice things we wouldn’t if we were on auto pilot.
Let’s look at the morning commute again but this time with a mindful approach.
You leave the house and notice as the cool air hits your face, reminding you that you are alive. You turn the key in the ignition and notice the gentle hum of the engine and feel grateful that you have transport to get you from A to B today. You welcome thoughts as they come and go, as you bring your awareness back to the present you notice how pretty the blossom is on the tree at the corner of your road. As you arrive at your destination you feel calm, in control and ready for the next task in your day.
Notice the difference? Great things happen when we step out of auto pilot and take a more mindful approach to our day. Just taking a mindful approach to that first cup of coffee in the morning can make a world of difference to our mind-set.
So the next time you feel yourself mindlessly going about your day, STOP, be aware, be present, be mindful every day.