This weekend, Chicago was overcast and rainy, and I found myself naturally drawn to a slower pace. I had all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted Saturday morning, yet I found myself wanting to do just one thing. Eat breakfast. I could have easily turned on the TV or scrolled through Pinterest, but I decided to postpone those for the time being. I decided to just eat breakfast.
This was a fairly unintentional practice in mindfulness, but a practice nonetheless. By bringing my attention to the present moment, I became more connected to the moment, as well as to the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that arose during it.
Here’s what I noticed, while choosing to just eat my breakfast, with no distractions or diversions.
I heard the rain. And I mean, truly heard the rain. The pitter pattern on the roof, the drizzle from our gutters, and the splash of puddles on the street outside. Rain is an incredibly soothing sound.
I tasted the cherry puree, blended into my yogurt. I eat this yogurt four times a week, but when I slowed down, I tasted it in a whole new way. Tart but sweet. Pleasant and bright.
I felt my fatigued muscles. I worked out earlier that morning, and I when was still, just eating breakfast, I noticed the fatigue in my body. It was as if my muscles had done all they could. The fatigue was coupled with a feeling of accomplishment.
I watched the flame flicker on a candle. If I’m home for more than 15 minutes, it’s likely I’ve got a candle burning. The flickering light was soothing.
I traced the stitching on a “Texas” pillow we have in our living room. Feeling the nubby texture of the pillow, my attention drifted back the moment I bought it in the tiny town of Fredrickburg with a dear friend. I smiled at the memory.
I noticed a stack of magazines that I had previously put aside. I had forgotten about them and could have picked one up, distracted by the act of doing something else. But I decided to leave them be, flipping through them later.
I sipped the foam on my homemade latte. This led to a moment of gratitude for our new coffee machine and the tiny elevation it gives my morning caffeine.
I experienced gratitude for our little home. My husband and I worked so hard to buy and make this house ours, and as I looked around the living room, I felt grateful for what we’ve made it.
I felt a sense of calm. My mind felt clear, and my head felt like it had space to be, to think, and to feel.
I noticed the clear surfaces and the absence of dust in places it sometimes rests. We had just cleaned the house the day prior, and I was appreciative for the freshly cleaned spaces, noticing an absence of nagging guilt to get up and do, clear, or clean.
I watched a raindrop run down the window, taking a windy path down, at a quick, then slow, then quick pace again. I had a happy memory of my mom and I having raindrop races when I was little.
I felt satisfied with my breakfast. I felt content at the end of the meal, not wanting more and not regretting having too much.
Can you believe it? All of this, just from eating my breakfast mindfully, without doing anything else. Without distractions or stimuli to occupy my attention, I was free to truly experience the moment and all it had to offer. It was pretty wonderful, doing nothing but being present, letting thoughts, feelings, and memories come and go. I found myself feeling grateful and nourished, profoundly appreciative of things I see, feel, and experience on a daily basis.
This is the power of mindfulness. It allows us to experience life on a much different level. It is as if the moments are fully illuminated. I decided to share this story not as a prescriptive exercise for you to tackle, but rather as a peek into what mindfulness can give you. It gives you the opportunity to feel fully engaged, nourished, and grounded. It often brings about a profound sense of calm and gratitude, one that becomes so lovely and good, you want more of it.
Luckily, we can have more of it. By practicing mindfulness on a moment to moment basis, we can live a more illuminated life. So what do you say, are you in?
PS: Want to give mindfulness a try before you’ve even gotten out of bed? Try this simple exercise.