As I live in the city center, I’m surrounded by several churches all of which have bell towers with bells which chime regularly during the day, but especially on Sundays. There was a time when I found this very annoying – mostly due to the fact that I would have been out late, as in partying and socialising and arriving home at 6 or 7 am in the morning. Being woken up only a few hours later by the synchronised chiming of church bells was not welcomed by me in my hangover state!
Nowadays when I’m at home and I hear the ringing of bells, I take a moment to breathe deeply, noting how am I feeling and where am I holding tension in my body and as I breathe out letting it all go. I do this for three deep breaths and it’s my way to connect to my breath becoming aware of my feelings and thoughts and locating the tension, usually in my shoulders from sitting working at my laptop. It’s a means of breaking the continuous thread that connects everything and allows me time and space to just be. My mobile phone needs to be plugged in regularly to function effectively and this is one of the tools I use myself to be more mindful during the day, increasing my effectiveness and productivity as well as creativity.
Our days are filled with daily activities which we do repeatedly and repetitively. What do you use during your day to plug yourself into mindfulness? Brushing your teeth? Washing your hands? Making a cup of tea? Drinking a cup of coffee? Walking to the metro or the bus? Sitting in the car just before putting the key in the ignition? When you hang up the phone? After having written that long and complicated email? Before you have your lunch? Eating your lunch? Just before you walk in the door home in the evening?
My challenge to you – choose one of the above moments in your day as a reminder to be more aware and mindful, stop and take three deep breathes, noting how you are feeling and where you are holding tension in your body and as you exhale let it all go.
Try it out for at least a week and see how you feel at the end of each day and how it affects you as you go through the week. Keep a journal if you like. Feel free to share your experience with us here online.