You almost definitely are thinking about something unrelated to the act of driving, yet your body knows how to do it.
If you understand what I mean when I say, “driving on autopilot,” you understand what it feels like to be “mindless.”
To be in your head and not in your body is to be mindLESS. When you are thinking about one thing and doing another it is mindLESS.
Mindful, then, is when your brain and your body are doing the same thing.
It isn’t bad to be mindless and good to be mindful. It is simply two ways of being.
You just need to know the difference so that you can know and understand how to get from one state to the other.
The problem with mindLESSness is that we are so busy thinking about something other than the current moment that we miss the current moment. Our bodies are there, but we are not really present.
Mindfulness is a buzzword lately, but Ellen Langer has been talking about it her whole life, way before it was cool.
I’m going to borrow Langer’s technique of “active noticing” to help you choose to move from mindLESS to mindFULL, i.e., to help you make sure you don’t miss the moments of this sweet life of yours.
Essentially, you make it a point to see the world around you, to really look at it. Then you notice what’s good. Let’s practice! You have the best little subject right there with you right now. Your baby!
How to: Actively notice your baby
- Notice five specific features your baby has. Go for tiny features. Like their cankle. Or their dimple. Their hair. Their knuckle dimples. Their belly button.
- Now notice how your baby smells. Sniff them. Take a long, slow deep breath in through your nose and get all that baby goodness.
- Listen to them. Listen to them breathe. Listen to them suck and swallow. Cry. Coo. Quiet the noise so you can hear that little voice.
- Notice pleasant feelings you have when you touch your baby. Not all feelings are pleasant at first. Sometimes, your baby is inflicting pain upon you with every suck.
- But, notice the pleasant feelings. Lay them on your chest. Touch your skin to theirs skin however much feels right to you. Squeeze their cheeks.
- Lastly, taste them. You know what I mean. Eat their face. Notice how simply delicious they are. (Disclaimer: Do not bite or eat your baby).
You have used all five senses to experience your baby. Pick one that is your absolute favorite.
Every time you see/hear/feel that favorite bit of your baby, take a deep, slow breath and remember where you are, what you are doing, who is in front of you, and that there are so many things in your life that are so very good.
Once you’ve gotten this down and you are thinking these thoughts every time you see your chosen baby bit, try looking for, remembering, and focusing on that baby bit whenever you are feeling mindLESS and you want to feel more mindFULL.