just a little mindfulness

I had what I would consider an almost perfect day yesterday – mainly because I didn’t have any set plans and I did everything at my own pace.  I just sort of let the day unfold as it went on.  These obligation-free days are so few and far between at this point in my life that I try to savor them as best I can. If only I could have one of these days a week…I miss college.

It got me thinking about how fast time can pass on a day-to-day basis.  It’s crazy to me how quickly we get caught up in the “stuff” of everyday life, unconsciously becoming less and less truly aware of ourselves and what’s going on around us.  Yes, this “stuff” is often the essence of our days (i.e. working, tv watching, eating, cooking, phone checking, exercising, email sending, errand running, etc.), but I think you have to make an effort to be consciously aware of what’s really happening – both within yourself and the world around you – in order to even truly experience even the “stuff” you want to be doing.

So what’s my point? That you have to be fully aware of whatever you’re doing in order to really be doing it – a.k.a being mindful.

Here’s just a little mindfulness for ya:

Being mindful really just means being aware and conscious of the reality of things, most importantly what’s happening in the present moment. Sounds easy, but think about how many times you’ve been doing something – only to think about what needs to be done next, or about something that’s already happened.  An example is: thinking about what you’re going to pack for the weekend while eating your lunch.  If you’re eating your lunch, you’re eating your lunch. Enjoy the flavors and textures of your food, how it makes you feel, what you experience when you take each bite.  Then take time to think about your packing.  After all, if you’re thinking about packing for the weekend, you’re thinking about packing for the weekend.  You can’t be 100% mindful of what to pack if you’re thinking about eating your food, too.  If you’re having a conversation with someone, have a conversation with someone. Pay attention so they (and you) know you’re genuinely interested in whatever it is their talking about. A little attention goes a long way…

I’m not saying to drop all efforts of multi-tasking or anything like that.  I’m just emphasizing the fact that we can’t be in 2 places at once, no matter how often we think we can. If you need to be thinking about what you’re going to do for the rest of the day while you’re on the treadmill, then by all means, go for it. I just think we’re more efficient and yield better results when we can fully focus on whatever it is we’re doing (with work and life in general). And the easiest way to do that, in my opinion, is to take things 1 at a time – with a constant, calm awareness as to whatever is going on at that present time.

It’s not rocket science, but it’s hard to practice mindfulness on a day to day basis – especially if you don’t even realize you’re not being mindful.  You have to start somewhere though, so a good day to practice the art of mindfulness is on a day you don’t have any obligations.  Just do whatever it is you’re doing.

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Sunday:

In all that mindfulness, I did manage to do quite a variety of things having woken up with not a single plan.

After making coffee, chatting with my parents and doing a little writing, I made a crazy-good/super green smoothie bowl.

Breakfast:

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I wasn’t thinking about writing down ingredients, I just threw in randomness as I saw fit. The magic of creating things without recipes is in picking out what you think will be the previous ingredients new best friend.  Sometimes they get along, and sometimes they don’t.  And sometimes you need a second opinion – even if you don’t want to admit it. :)

This one included spinach, protein powder, vanilla extract, frozen banana slices, a few ice cubes, vanilla soy milk, cinnamon, honey, instant espresso, carob chips, unsweetened shredded coconut, and a dollop of peanut butter just for fun.

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As I was observing the cold, creamy, crunchy, glorious green-ness, I had a fleeting thought of Popeye – and how he would have been so mad if he knew he could’ve had this over canned spinach.

After breakfast, I wandered around the house, taking in the decor. It’s sad that I’ve never really paid attention to how well my mom put together our home.  I got a few ideas for myself, but really realized that there’s a lot I need to be taught about domestic living. I snapped a few pictures outside,

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wondered if anyone stays in here,

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and realized that I wanted to go over to my friend Meloon’s house to take pictures of her mom’s back porch. She has a knack for placing things as well -and I wanted to take some pictures of more stuff outside.

Lunch:

Before I left, I decided I was hungry and made a peanut butter and jelly bagel concoction. I also decided that I wanted to eat off a cool plate, so I raided Toto’s china cabinet for my favorite. I washed it and put it back up safely, Ma – don’t worry! :)

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I’m calling it a concoction because I mixed chili powder, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper into the peanut butter.  Why? I have no idea.  I guess I was feeling the sweet/spicy combo…or the fancy plate needed a fancy sandwich…

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I took it outside for a mini photo shoot, but didn’t even eat it off the plate.  I put it in a plastic bag and decided to eat it at Meloon’s while she enjoyed the smoothie I agreed to make her.

I ended up taking pictures of plants,

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a cool blue chair,

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and some curious cherubs.

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Following the picture-taking was a face mask and a little girl talk.

When I finally left her house, I took on the grocery store – with dinner in mind, but nothing planned.

Dinner:

The rest of my night was spent creating in the kitchen and enjoying the company of my future hubby. We ended up with:

Beet Salad and Avocado Couscous,

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Moroccan-Inspired Sweet Potato Hash,

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and Indian-Infused Sautéed Chicken.

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The whole meal was amazing.  I will definitely try to emulate this again and focus on writing down ingredients – instead of deciding on which ones to use.

I had to round out our meal with something sweet, and was in the mood to try something new. I was SO excited to test out these cookies I randomly found on Pinterest.

Nutella & Sea Salt Stuffed Sugar Cookies

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Not to toot my own horn – because I did not come up with this recipe – but these are some of the most amazing cookies I’ve ever put in my mouth.  They were sweet, salty, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside perfection. I will definitely be sharing this recipe and I will definitely be making these again to take to a few people I love to be my testers. :)

Those beauties were an awesome ending to my day of mindfulness.

And now it’s already Monday evening.  Gah.