Zzz. Zzzz. Zzzz.
RING RING!! RING RING!!
Laying face down on my bed, my body lays motionless as I snooze the phone alarm with my left hand. It’s 6:07am. Snoozing my phone gives me an extra 8 minutes. I close my eyes again.
RING RING!! RING RING!!
This time I get myself up, grab the phone and shut off the alarm for good. One of the cats is at the foot of the bed sitting up, staring at me. I pet him on his furry blackish brown head; he happily lets out his patented purring. I stand up and head to the bathroom to wash up.
I walk back to the bedroom, get dressed and go to the kitchen as I make my way past the other cat resting on the three-story cat tree. As the coffee is brewing, I set myself up on the yoga mat to perform my daily stretching routine. It consists of several stretches, focusing on each part of my body one at a time. It takes about as long as for the coffee to be finished.
This is my daily weekday routine before work. Months ago, I incorporated a quick meditation session, but lately I have been going to bed too late so I haven’t had the energy to wake up early enough to meditate. Instead, the stretching routine has been very beneficial in preparing myself for a day of mindfulness. Doing each stretch, really listening to my body as I feel my muscles speaking to me. Especially in the mornings after waking up, the muscles speak the loudest. This stretching routine helps me jumpstart my day to remind myself to remain mindful.
It is so easy to wake up, go mindlessly into work, perform the scheduled tasks, eat lunch, do more drudgery for money, drive back home and eat dinner, then wind down and go to sleep, only to wake up to do it all over again. I used to be like that. But why did I choose to live my life that way?
Because it seemed easier to turn off the mind and just let routine take over. It wasn’t healthy, however, for my mental well-being.
After learning about meditation, after experiencing it for myself, and then learning about mindfulness as well, it seems as if I live an entirely different life from a year ago. Although I do the same things, the way I feel is completely new. Staying mindful throughout the day, I can appreciate more of life and what it has to offer. Some things I have overlooked in the past, things that were right in front of my face that I would brush off, I now realize how valuable they are to me—things like appreciating a good cup of coffee, the smell of fresh air in the morning, a “Hello” from a co-worker asking how my weekend was.
I admit, however, it isn’t easy at times. There are days when I forgot to be mindful; I forget to take some deep breaths to center myself. I will go a whole day at work without observing my breath or listening to how my body feels. But starting the day with that stretching routine helps. It gives me those first few moments of the morning to get my mind right. Most of the time, it carries over to the rest of the day.
There’s no time like the present. There’s always the here and now. And that’s what being mindful has done for me—learning to appreciate the present, the here and now.
In my mind, the past has already come and gone so it does no good to dwell on it. In my mind, the future is not promised, so worrying about it may be worthless. The present, however, is a gift—a gift that I try to be mindful enough to appreciate.
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