I made a cup of coffee one morning… as I had done almost every morning for years. After what seemed only a brief moment, I tipped the mug, draining a few final drops into my mouth, then surprised, I looked inside. How did it all disappear so quickly?  Disappointed, I had a little inner argument. 

I need another cup of coffee.

No, you don’t. You’ll get the jitters from too much caffeine, and won’t be able to stop talking all afternoon.

But, it was gone so quickly I didn’t get to enjoy it!

And why is that?

Uh… because I need bigger mugs?

Hmm…

Okay, so my willpower wasn’t in full swing that day. Yes, I did make a second cup, and yes, I did end up with the jitters, chatting away at my poor husband for hours… but I also gave some serious thought to the way I rarely paid attention when I had something to eat or drink. The whole mindfulness thing was new to me. I had been doing fairly well at reining in my thoughts during meditation. Now, here was a perfect opportunity to apply it to an everyday activity.

On that second cup, I made a conscious decision to not thoughtlessly chug my coffee as I multitasked my way through a long computer to-do list. I paused in my work, realizing I was certain to miss out once again if I didn’t spend this moment in the moment.

Lifting my mug with both hands to appreciate its warmth, I inhaled the rich scent and focused on how much I enjoyed the flavor in every sip, first to last. In the end, it turned out to be a wonderful lesson. The two servings were identical, yet staying present somehow made the second coffee immeasurably better than the first. I wondered what would happen if I repeated this experiment for other meals throughout the day… and then throughout the week. It proved to be so beneficial, I considered applying it to another area of my life… my home, perhaps…? Could washing the dishes be more enjoyable? What about running errands, doing laundry, or walking the dog?

Turned out mindfulness improved the household chores as well. Without it, I can easily forget to appreciate what I have which, in this case, would be things like a roof over my head, running water, those fluffy dusters that reach my ceiling fans, etc. Also, a scattered mind can cause me to struggle with tasks that should be quite simple. I’ve been known to trip and fall on vacuum cords, shatter dishes, burn meals, leave clothes to mildew in the washer… The list goes on and on. I still struggle when an interruption draws me away, or when I get caught up in the drama of this temporal world, but consistent efforts have always shown positive change, encouraging me to continue, branching into areas like self-care, relationships, work, and anything else that comes along.

I suppose, by now, you understand this story isn’t really about coffee. I get that some like it, and others do not. Some include it in their diet while others believe it is far too unhealthy. My desire is to give a glimpse back, to show you where I began my mindfulness journey. I am a work in progress, and I always will be. I intend to glean whatever knowledge I can from this life, which is but a steppingstone in my eternal existence. I’m happy to share what I learn, and would enjoy hearing your thoughts on the topic as well. Thank you for stopping by!

 

Namaste!

Rev. Laura