“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
I remembered this quote as I was making home made soup today.
It’s a drizzly, dark and cool day. I don’t mind these days.
These are days when the absence of activity brings me closer to my inner voice.
These are days when doing the simplest tasks are openings for a deeper conversation with myself, revealing what has been hidden behind busyness and doing and caring for everyone and everything but me.
Folding sheets becomes a meditation. Planting new herbs becomes a sacred practice. Making soup…becomes an epiphany.
These activities may seem ordinary, but they flow with a higher quality of attention that brings me presence, peace and serenity. These are the simple things that keep me centered, relaxing into the flow of the day.
There’s nothing earth shattering about cooking or cleaning or gardening or running or kayaking. Yet all of these make the rest of my world fall away as I focus on what I’m doing in that moment.
There is only that moment.
I’m not thinking of my to-do list or tomorrow’s groceries or projects due. I’m simply completely involved with that activity.
My brain is working but it’s resting too. My body is moving yet there is stillness even as my energy flows to the movement that is appropriate to what I’m doing. These simple tasks remind me of tai chi – when you’re still and moving at the same time.
You may think of mindfulness as meditation or yoga or some traditional practice but I’d like to suggest that mindfulness is essentially paying attention – to your inner and outer world – in such a way that everything superfluous to the moment falls away.
Essentially, mindfulness is being completely present to what is.
No matter what you’re doing or the perceived value of that, you create meaning in every moment if you are mindful and present. Life is as the saying goes:
“Before Enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water."