Being Mindful, Washing Up, and the Fear Of Missing Out

Being Mindful, Washing Up, and the Fear Of Missing Out

Being mindful gets tricky, because of habit mind. Washing up, eating, and showering might seem like great times to think about something else. After all, these habitual actions don’t require much mental focus. We’re just doing the same thing over and over, right?
And that’s the problem when it comes to being mindful.

It seems innocent to daydream at these innocent moments. And yet, mindfuless is cumulative. 

We should know, living in conscious community at a meditation retreat center here in BC, Canada.

Where’s the Fear Of  Missing Out…on the present moment?

being mindful helps keep the Zombie at the door
How to Keep The Zombie Mind at Bay?
Image by Nathan Wright (his last one) on Unsplash

A modern phenomenon is FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).

This describes a neurotic pattern of worrying that whatever we choose, like going to this event rather than that party, or just staying home, I would potentially be missing out on something else.

FOMO leads to a reluctance to commit to anything until the last minute (if that’s a commitment at all). It brings a painful, constant comparison as we look for something better than the present moment all the time.

So while it might seem relaxing to watch TV over a meal, or think over something else while washing up, where’s the sense of FOMO for the present moment? When not fully present, we’re actually missing out on being alive in that moment. We’re missing potential insights that will lead to greater freedom.

That said, every day we do certain things so much that just “being mindful” might not be enough to keep our attention.

On our last creative weekend, we got Martin, long time Clear Sky resident and decades-long meditator and parent, to share some of the questioning and curiosity he has used to bring mindful states to everyday tasks.

 

 

1) While doing dishes: really notice how you clean that pot or glass

Being mindful in daily habits is huge.

In order to be more mindful around mundane tasks, I have to ask myself, “What am I aware of while washing dishes?”

This leads to a fabulous exploration into just how to do the dishes mindfully.

Being mindful with washing up: dishes piled on counter
By Marcus Ganal on Unsplash

Perhaps most importantly, all the while I am tracking the physical, visual, and mind senses operating in the moment. I take pleasure in the beauty of the result, feeling the satisfaction of knowing everything is good to go for the next meal.

As a selective cleanliness nut, I have developed a habit of neglecting some areas of daily life. Doing dishes is not one of them. I have a consistent routine which works well not only for doing the task but also helps me to maintain a concentrated focus.

If you join our three month intensive program, being mindful in conscious community at a meditation center, you’ll see where your strengths and blind spots, are, too.

I offer some examples, though not my complete list, for being mindful while washing up:

  • First, rinse and/or scrape everything to get rid of major food debris and organize and stack like with like
  • Fill sink with hot! water adding enough detergent to do the job, but not to create too much excess suds
  • Rinse thoroughly all kitchenware – checking that they are perfectly clean & stack in drying rack and/or dishwasher

 

2) When putting food on a plate: am I taking what my body needs, or eating more out of habit?

Being mindful around food? Good luck!

How appetite drives us, especially around food.

So often, I can tell my level of security in other phases of my life by what and how much I put on my plate. This tells me whether I feel confident, easeful, anxious, stressed, peaceful, angry, wide awake, sleepy, distracted. Any one of these factors can be an influence in how much and what I take for a meal.

Here is what I have noticed:

  • When I’m feeling something is missing in other parts of my life, I’m likely to take more than the body can digest well. I want to fill the perceived gap.  
  • When I’m at ease and tuned into the body, I take just enough, almost all the time.
  • And if I’m angry or stressed, I can feel the body saying no! and I’ll take the bare minimum.
Being mindful with food: A large handful of Strawberries
Artur Rutkowski, Unsplash

My take away:

The more conscious I am of my state, the more I tend to use the food experience to modify it. I use food to modify a negative state or, alternatively, to dwell on a feeling of enjoyment when all is well.

Being mindful of what my body is asking for, then, regardless of what’s coming up mentally or emotionally, keeps me on track for healthy living. And that leads to a wholesome kind of joy.

3) Being mindful in the shower: am I really present?

Does your mind wander in the shower? Or are you present with where your attention goes?

I have ways to better track what is happening so I can be mindful around showering. I ask myself, simply, “What am I aware of when I’m in the shower?”

Here are some of the things I’ve noticed while being mindful in the shower:

  • There’s the anticipation of the sensations on my skin before I’m even in the water
  • I tend towards impatience when I’m waiting for the water coming out of the tap to warm up
  • Then, stepping into the waterfall I experience the bliss-inducing warm water flowing over the body. It energizes and wakes up the entire body, including the interior.
  • Feeling the refreshing cleanse. I’m symbolically cleaning out the mental and emotional drudge left over from the drowsiness of sleep. I’m waking up body and mind to begin the new day. It can feel like being reborn and with an open ended range of possibility to come.
  • After a mindful shower I am fully awake. I step out, dry vigorously, and move on with purpose and a sense of freshness of the moment.

Our series of blogs is designed to give real examples of applying present moment awareness, bringing the meditative mind to everyday situations.

Comment below if you’d like to share some observations or insights you’ve had from bare awareness and being mindful.

Check out our three month intensive program to up your mindfulness game. Learn to live in a conscious community at a meditation retreat center in BC, Canada.

Edited by Andy Rogers and Dan O’Brien

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