There is still a fourth of the year left. I’m trying to do small things well, like make to-do lists full of accomplishable tasks. Grind the perfect amount of coffee for one person. Flip the record and put the needle in just the right place. Tend to the plants when they need tending to.
The school year started for me last week, which means that in a matter of days I’ll be thrown ass-first into a mountain of grading, student meetings, and low-level anxiety about staying on top of class preparation. (I’m not kidding anybody when I say low-level. I’m not a low-level anxiety kind of person.) And so the reason for the small things. If I can carry these small things with me every day–the coffee, the plants, the records, the accomplishable tasks–then I’m relatively convinced I’ll be okay.
I think this is, in part, what mindfulness is.
A person once explained mindfulness to me like this: your life is a room full of furniture. If you hate all the furniture, it’s easiest to walk through the room with your eyes closed or the lights off. Then you don’t have to look at it. But if you open your eyes and turn on the lights, you can make changes to what’s there. You can get rid of the tacky lamp your grandma gave you. You can assess what’s in the room, even if it sucks. But you can’t change what’s there if you refuse to look at it.
So I’m trying my hardest to take mental stock of my furniture. Be more mindful about how I’m living my life and what’s working for me–and what’s not. It’s the only way, I think, that I’ll ever be able to implement meaningful changes. What do you know about mindfulness? How do you implement it? I’m looking for suggestions and your knowledge about this, because sometimes paying attention to who you are, what kind of life you live, and how you react to things–it’s not fun or easy.
Today I’m going to fold laundry. I’m going to drop off some Goodwill donations. I’m going to move around the literal furniture in my apartment. And I’m going to try my hardest to stay with each task–to bring my attention back to the present moment each time I start worrying about my syllabi that need printing, or my bank account balance. This is not uncommon: to bring my attention back again and again and again and again. It’s practice.