What does it mean to be mindful? How do we water the seed of mindfulness in order to bring about ease and joy for ourselves? Mindfulness is the quality of our relationship with ourselves and the interaction we have with our surroundings. It is the practice that we bring off of our meditation cushion and into our daily lives. It is an interweaving of attention and intention. There are many ways to nourish our little mindfulness seed into a well established plant in our internal garden. In our watering can, meditation is a big drop of water but not everyone resonates with sitting meditation and that’s OK :)
Another way mindfulness can be cultivated is by doing any activity with all of our attention. A few days ago my step-son Jaden and I went out huckleberry picking with my good friend Amy. We spent about 3 hours in the woods honing our berry radar and meandering from bush to bush. Those little plum colored berries sure know how to blend in! While berry picking my attention was devoted almost entirely to the activity at hand. It was a natural process. Afterwards, I realized that berry picking was a practice in cultivating mindfulness. Anything I do that presses pause on my monkey mind and brings me fully into the present moment waters the seed of mindfulness.
There are a multitude of things that can bring about our relationship with the present moment and they will differ from person to person. I like to clean (you heard it right, I like to clean) and when I get into my cleaning mode I am attentive and my busy brain stops thinking and planning and scheduling. Taking good care of my home becomes a mindfulness practice. It happens naturally, almost without effort.
There are activities we do that bring about our focus naturally and those we can do intentionally to nourish our capacity to create more mindfulness in our everyday life. Anything we do can be an opportunity to wake up to ourselves in the present moment from wood working to cooking to biking to drinking a cup of tea. Mindfulness is the tool we use to create our relationship with the present moment and reconnect to the beauty that is all around and within us. And we can start right now, wherever we are.