Mindfulness Lessons from my Cat
At first, I did my best to distract myself from this unfortunate situation - listening to audio books, finding new podcasts, catching up on phone calls. But over time, as these distractions grew tiresome, I slowly became curious and began to see the parking lot through Pan’s eyes. I began to notice all the little things that draw him there that I had previously skipped over.
And aren’t there just an abundance of birds! Crows, magpies, doves, finches, blue jays, and woodpeckers, just to name a few. Of course, Pan knows the best places to watch them. By following his lead, I now know the two different corners of the parking lot where the neighbors hang bird feeders. To these, they all flock, taking turns swooping down to get their fill and then retreating to the nearest branches above. Unsurprisingly, the squirrels congregate in these corners too, feasting upon the scraps that scatter underneath the bird feeders.
I have become familiar with the neighbors and workers that pass through on regular schedules. We wave to each other. Some stop to pet Pan. In one house lives a wild little blonde girl who runs out barefoot and smiling to shower him with adoration. She feeds the squirrels too, making her yard another prime squirrel watching venue. On special days, we run into other neighborhood cats, or bunnies, or occasionally raccoons.
If you often feel rushed through your day, under constant stimulation, or without enjoyment in your daily tasks, you may benefit from a mindful fresh perspective similar to what Pantalaimon gifted to me. Sometimes this occurs spontaneously when we see the world through the eyes of a pet, a child, or an out-of-town visitor. Other times, we may need to cultivate it on our own.
Mindfulness in Daily Life Practice:
Choose one task that has become habitual for you, perhaps a task you find boring or that you often couple with daydreaming or phone calls. Washing dishes, brushing your teeth, or walking to the mailbox are all great examples, but you may choose anything.
For one week, approach this task as if you have never done it before. Imagine the way that a young child gets excited about participating in chores, or the way that a traveler is intrigued by the routines in foreign countries.
Let go of all your distractions during this time (that’s right, no podcasts or phone calls) and give this task your full attention. Move a little slower than usual. Pay attention to all your senses.
Notice the angle of the light, the smells, the temperature of the air or water, textures of soap or paper or whatever you may touch, the movement of your body parts.
Every day, try to notice one new or different thing that you did not notice during this task the day before.
At the end of the week, how has your experience changed?
What might it be like to cultivate this mindful awareness throughout your day?
As somatic counselor, I love using mindful and body-based practices to help my clients transform their daily lives into something they love. If you would like support in this process,
please reach out for a free consultation.