For as much as I love the mindfulness craze, I have a minor gripe to share about mindfulness apps.
They are all about working with your thoughts.
Noticing the breath. Noticing thoughts. Accepting thoughts. Moving back to the breath. Noticing thoughts.
And this is valuable work. But it misses the mark on one crucial thing: this is mindfulness, but this is not ALL that mindfulness is. I’m concerned that mindfulness is, more and more, being seen as merely a tool to help you manage your stress, not a skill to help you completely uplevel your game. It’s more and more about coping with anxiety, fear, and basically just keeping your shit together. But the more the focus is on this single aspect of mindfulness, the less we see the other major thing mindfulness can help us do:
— Increase our creativity, openness, joy, and sense of connection to ourselves, others, and our work.
So I recommend we broaden our understanding of mindfulness to include so much more than thoughts. Because what else does the mind perceive about the human experience? Well – everything, for starters.
So let’s start practicing mindfulness with all our senses.
If you have struggled with meditation and find your awareness of your monkey mind is getting in the way for you, I’m not saying you should stop doing it altogether. You should definitely dedicate some time to noticing your thoughts at work and become less attached to all the weird and sometimes downright nasty stuff we say to ourselves.
But here’s another idea to add to your meditation practice.
Put the timer on like you normally would. But instead of closing your eyes and focusing on your breath, pick up something with a lot of texture and just observe it. Like a baby observes literally everything she encounters. The item you choose isn’t really that important. But observe it for the full time you are meditating. See the colors. Notice the way it feels. The weight of it in your hand. Observe your thoughts about it, but also observe the simple experience of holding it and bearing witness to its simple and uncomplicated existence.
What are we doing when we practice mindfulness this way?
We are developing our sense of everyday AWE.
I’m going to be talking more in future posts about everyday awe, because as a creative, being awe-struck is a beautiful state to create from, a state where we make our most innovative discoveries and craft our most impactful work.
I would love to hear from you about the sensory mindfulness activities you come up with too. Put it in the comments, DM me on instagram, or send me an email. Let’s develop a sense of awe, together.