Mindful Reminders

Sparkler

Mindfulness is one of those things that sounds so easy. Pay attention? No problem! Live in the moment? Done! Breathe? I do that all the time!

We can say mindfulness is…

simple, but not easy.

Just the other day, as I walked to my car after work, another colleague walked past me, going back toward the building. “I was so busy thinking I walked right past my car!” she said. We do that a lot, don’t we? We get so caught up in our thoughts that we walk right past our own cars lives.

The more we practice mindfulness, the more natural it will become. Whatever we practice, we get better at — and we’re always practicing something! We’re probably better off practicing mindful awareness than stressed-out distraction!

So when we begin, we may have to remember to be mindful. In fact, the word “mindfulness” comes from the Pali word sati — which derives from the word “remember.” Think of it as re-membering — coming back to wholeness, stepping fully into the present moment.

One way we can do this is to create reminders — in our homes, our workplaces, or our daily routines — that serve as calls to mindfulness. These can be little tokens or decorations, or we can designate specific moments of the day for our mindfulness practice.

iMindful
Thich Nhat Hanh, in Peace is Every Step, explains that he makes the ringing of the telephone a bell-sound for mindfulness. Before answering, he tells himself,

“Listen, listen. This wonderful sound brings me back to my true self.”

I don’t know about you, but these days, my phone rarely actually rings… but I am using it quite frequently. I set a special image as the homescreen for my phone, so each time I turn to my phone, I remember to breathe and return to the present moment. Given how attached we are to our phones, think how many times a day we can call ourselves to mindfulness!

Imagine if every email ding, Facebook notification, and retweet alert called us to mindfulness!

KeychainMindful Tokens
I purchased this Buddha medallion {actually a necklace} to use as a keychain. (The beaded crab is from our family vacation in Mexico last winter, which reminds me of entire days spent simply enjoying the present moment!)

What small token will call you to mindfulness? Where can you create your own reminders?

I have many other mindful reminders around my home:

The signs in the image below are actually Christmas tree ornaments, but they hang above my kitchen sink. So if I’m trying to mindfully wash dishes, these are a helpful reminder:

Kitchen Decor

This zen garden sits on my desk in my study. It reminds me to pause and breathe:

zen garden

Mindful Moments
Perhaps there is something you do EVERY day that would be a perfect reminder to spend some time in mindful awareness — drinking your morning coffee, going for a walk, turning lights on or off, or tucking the kids into bed, for example. You can find many more ideas in this post 40 Ways to Bring Mindfulness to Your Days.

Mindful Spaces
I believe we are powerfully influenced by the spaces we live in — a dedicated meditation space can be just thing to inspire a daily meditation practice. This is my home meditation room:

Meditation Space

screen2
screenshot from “Chill”

There’s an App for That!

There are lots of mindfulness apps available now that you can program with alerts that prompt you to just take a moment and check in with how you’re feeling, or to begin your formal practice. A few of them include Mindfully Me, Chill, Meditate, the Mindfulness App, and the Insight Timer.

You can find more app reviews in this article from Mindful Magazine, and in this article.

*****

Mindfulness is both a formal practice, and a way of being in the world — with presence, compassion, and awareness.

Only if we remember.

Sarah Rudell Beach
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Sarah Rudell Beach

Sarah is a writer, teacher, and mother. At Left Brain Buddha, she writes about her journey to live and parent mindfully, joyfully, and thought-fully in her left-brain analytical life. When not working, she enjoys dancing, reading, and hanging out with her little Buddhas.
Sarah Rudell Beach
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Comments

  1. says

    I absolutely love the “Beach Rules” sign! Perfect!
    I am a freak about photos. I have pictures of family and friends on every surface of my house! I am so thankful for the people in my life and the pictures remind me to nurture those relationships.

    • Sarah says

      I have pictures everywhere, too. The trick for me is to move them around once in a while so I actually notice them and they don’t just become part of the scenery!

  2. says

    I just love this list of mindful reminders, especially the medallion. I used to carry a little rock that I had from when so was a girl. Keep it in my pocket and whenever I felt it there during the day it brought a smile to my face. I may have to start up that practice again.
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