A sensory life
Mindfulness is everywhere. Challenging us to live in the present. The only thing that is important is each moment. Not the future or the past but right now. It is the only time we can act. The only time we know exists, that we have any control over or any influence on. Self help guides tell us the importance of the moment we are living in. They say, "Now is a gift because it's the present." Have you ever tried living in the present? It is a nightmare. Sometimes I spend days of my life without a single recollection of what I have done. Whole journeys I have taken and I haven't got a clue how I got to my destination....and I was driving! Your mind yanking you back to 1985. That thing you said and embarrassed yourself that no one remembers. Stood there in leg warmers. Then you are jolted into the recent past. You can't remember if you turned your hair straighteners off, locked the front door or even closed it behind you. Then you're in the future. Thinking what's for dinner and whether it is ok to order pizza again or are you the only person that the pizza delivery guy knows by name. Is it normal that he bought you a Christmas card? Then back to 1985 again. Then you've arrived at your destination and have to think back to your immediate past to decide how on earth you made it there and which route you took.
Mindfulness would have you watch your breathing, go for a walk or smell flowers. I don't do that. I'd like to but I don't. I don't really like the present. It is uncomfortable and annoying. I am either hungry or bloated. My clothes are tight around the middle and itchy. The world is noisy and full of mundane jobs calling for your attention. No wonder everyone is on their phone all the time. It won't be long before we are all wearing virtual reality headset permanently and never speak to each other again. First we'll think people are listening to us and they will really be watching cat videos on their glasses which will be as annoying as those Bluetooth ear pieces but more discrete and more cats.
Having tried everything to live more in the present I admitted defeat and settled down for a life in my own head. Then I found some nice body lotion in the back of a cupboard and it sent me on the path of a sensory life. Really if our life is only ever in the present then the little things are the big things. Just think how many times you brush your teeth, hair and kitchen floor. Not with the same brush I hope.
Life is mundane. I spend most of it ferrying children around. Even if I had a magic tree air freshener my life would be instantly more glamorous. Therefore if I must be in the present then I can make each moment a wonderfully sensory experience. This has created a new wonderful life for me and I would like to share it with you.
All you need to do is to improve every moment in your life through your senses. I thought about what was so brilliant about holidays and I think part of it is a lovely clean sheets, a nice tasty breakfast, a beautiful view and the feeling of the sun on your face. How can you move this to a grey Tuesday in February in Hull. It might be easier than you think.
When people are asked about what they find most comforting and enjoyable it is always things like snuggling under a warm blanket, a real fire and a nice relaxing bath. Start to look at your daily life. Imagine if your day began with a comfortable dressing gown and lovely slippers, a warm shower with beautiful smelling moisturiser, soft comfortable clothes, the smell of good coffee and a tasty nutritious breakfast. How much would you want to get out of bed for that and enjoy the present moment? I think we often reach out to the nearest thing. If we planned our meals around bright colour, the nice smell of spices and the taste of herbs and a lovely texture. Every meal would be in delight. It doesn't have to be unhealthy on the contrary. Bright colours ensure you get a range of vitamins, fresh food tastes better than processed. Have you ever been on a health kick and then had fish and chips? They can taste quite horrible, greasy and lacking in flavour even though they might smell nice as you go past the chip shop.
This doesn't have to be an expensive thing. I think we spend time doing things that are easy and available. Just think how much nicer it is to have fresh coffee or one real nice chocolate rather than 3 instant coffees or 10 cheap chocolate bars. Just think about your favourite jumper. Comfortable and reliable so much so you don't want to throw it away. You wear it despite the tons of more fashionable, newer clothes hanging in your wardrobe. Having a slightly more expensive, better quality and smaller wardrobe helps lesson decisions on what to wear and wasting your life and brain power on minor decisions when you could be planning that novel that you've always wanted to write. It also helps with cutting down waste and the massive piles of cheap clothes which are going into landfill every day.
If you want to improve your life and each moment think of all of your senses. A meal is enhanced when you look at it visually, it's taste, smell and texture. Each element added enhances it. A warm bath feels good but can be improved no end by essential oils and candles. Adding smell and how the room looks. You work place can be instantly improve by where you place your chair, what type of chair and what you are looking at in your space. It doesn't have to be big changes but the small things can be added to create a moment to moment life that draws you into each moment. Even driving home in a clean fresh car and getting into a warm, clean comfortable bed will instantly make the daily commute feel better and help you want to settle down to sleep.
We are programmed for instant gratification. This is why diets get easily derailed because we act now and ask questions later. The only moment is now. Ground yourself in the now and relax your racing brain by looking to the real world as it happens through your senses. The racing thoughts will fade into the distance as you root yourself in the here and now through your senses.