In these uncertain times we can still turn to Mindfulness practices in order to connect with ourselves and with others. In fact, more than ever, it shows how we need to step off the automatic pilot and take some control back.
In his book ‘How to train a wild elephant’ Jan Chozen Bays explores how we can bring mindfulness into our everyday lives.
We invite you to, be curious, to experiment and to have fun with these practices. Have a go
Mindfulness Practice – Waiting
Any time that you find yourself waiting – especially if queuing to get into your supermarket or pharmacy (and obeying the social distancing rules) use this time as an opportunity to practice mindfulness.
Practice our breathing – take a couple of breaths and maybe notice any tensions from waiting. Notice if your breathing has changed because you are close to people after being in the house away from people.
Tap into how you are – what’s happening in your body, what emotions and feelings are around and what thoughts are going through your mind. You might notice irritability, annoyance, calmness, patience. Simply noticing how things are.
Listening or seeing – noticing what you can see and hear. Maybe the sound of traffic is quieter and we can hear the birds more
Loving kindness – when you notice irritation you can practice loving kindness for yourself having to wait and to others who may be causing you to wait. Seeing that our struggle is shared by many others and that we are not alone.
Waiting feels like something we don’t like doing – it often has negative emotions and thoughts attached and avoidant behaviours. We can often identify negative patterns while we wait – they show up. We might notice when waiting that we try and distract ourselves from the discomfort/frustration of waiting. We might try and do something in the gap of waiting – going into thinking mode – “I’ll just do this or that”.
Can we see waiting as a gift? An opportunity to stop and to get in touch with ourselves. The mind benefits if we can. We stop the negative mind-set in its tracks as well as giving us a sense of connection to ourselves and our environment – often when we need it most.
We get the chance to ‘know’ what happens while we are waiting – we can feel our sense of impatience in the body that then moves into negative emotions and thoughts and ultimately to behaviours.
While waiting become aware of what is happening in your body first and notice how this translates to the rest of our experience.
We also get the opportunity to be fully present when we are forced to wait. Rather than being busy getting to one place to another or getting one job done and immediately moving on to the next job. Waiting allows us to be fully present in the moment.
Next time you’re waiting in a queue, why not take the time to practice this little exercise?