This reflection appeared in the newsletter from January 11th, 2022.
While I’m a big fan of formal meditation, I’m equally fond of bringing mindfulness into the fabric of my day. In turn, today I’ll share a great tactic that can help you bring an additional 200 mindful moments into your next month.
Briefly put, every time you use the restroom, before you leave the room, close your eyes, plant your feet firmly on the ground, relax your shoulders/jaw/abdomen, and take one great big deep breath. This whole process will take you about seven seconds, and then you simply proceed with the rest of your day.
Each time you do this, it’s an opportunity to re-calibrate; to let go of a little tension, hurrying, habit-energy or mindlessness. It’s a way to come back to yourself.
Of course, every single mindful moment probably isn’t going to change your life. However, as most people go into the restroom around seven times a day, if you do this every time for a full week, that’s 50 mindful moments. Take that to a month, and you’re now at 200 mindful moments added to your life. When added together, you’re forming a tapestry of mindfulness that really starts to be significant. You’ll notice that the mindful moments tend to compound, and you’ll probably start spontaneously taking them at other points of the day as well, without any prior plan.
The effect is that your whole life becomes more guided by mindful clarity and presence, even just 5% more, all from taking a simple deep breath in the bathroom.
It’s worth mentioning that at its core, a “mindful moment” is an inner experience — putting a break in the momentum of your thoughts and habit energy. However, it’s pretty hard to just randomly pause this momentum. In turn, I’ve found the easiest way to do this amidst a busy day/life is with a physical pause, found through that bodily stillness, muscular relaxation, and a deep breath. Body and mind are intimately connected.
I recommend the bathroom as the pause-location-of-choice because everyone does it a handful of times a day — enough to be noteworthy, not so much as to be overwhelming. If you prefer, you could easily substitute before eating, when sitting down into a chair, when putting on shoes/slippers, or any other activity you reliably do 2 to 10 times a day. Keep it realistic.
Some of you may or may not be convinced this is a worthwhile thing do. In turn, I leave you with this question:
How might your next month be different if you had an additional 200 mindful moments?