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Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Grade (So Far): Mindfulness

Mindfulness: The state of being attentive.

How would you grade yourself so far on this attribute? Some people might call this a no-brainer, wondering how someone could accomplish anything without paying attention. For me, this is another attribute where I've seen steady improvement over my adult life while fully recognizing I've got a long way to go. So I'll give myself a "C+" for mindfulness so far.

How often have you used the same parking space where you work? The same locker at the gym? Taken the same route to a familiar place? Had the same meal repeatedly either at home or in a favorite restaurant? These mundane rituals may have benefits but they are also often repeated with little or no mindfulness, as are other repetitive routines with much clearer benefits, like brushing your teeth. I brush my teeth every day and am just as inclined as the next person to engage in the mundane rituals noted.

But whenever I focus on either a mundane ritual or a benefit-producing routine, I feel more present, more attentive, more mindful. And every so often, breaking a ritual, even once, produces some small magic or new insight. More importantly, I've never been disappointed when I enter that mindful state. Which routines or rituals of yours can you envision shaking up a bit? What's the worst that can happen if you try? 

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