This morning my coffee mug is my mindfulness mentor.
A polish pottery piece, the mug is round—seemingly custom-made for my cupped hands—and decorated in a blue floral pattern. The lip bends out at just the right ergonomic angle. The heat of the coffee warms my hands in these pre-dawn hours, the dark brew reflecting the dark sky outside my window. I breathe in the rich aroma and savor each sip, swirling the liquid in my mouth before swallowing it.
The hot ceramic feels like a magic orb in my hands, engaging my senses and reminding me of all that I have for which to be grateful.
Meditation Only Went So Far for Me This Morning
I had already meditated before making my coffee, putting in my usual twenty minutes on my bench immediately after rolling out of bed, guided by Andy Puddicombe’s Headspace.com app (I have used the program for almost three years, but am not a paid advertiser).
Usually I feel completely relaxed after meditating, but not this morning. I noticed a tightness in my chest during the session, not a scary medical-related tightness, but a slight grip of tension. It’s not where I usually feel stress or anxiety in my body. I usually feel that slightly lower in my solar plexus area, or in the pit of my stomach.
The tightness was higher than that, I guess in the area of my heart. I focused my attention on the sensation. After a few minutes, it loosened somewhat, almost as if some muscular knots had been massaged into suppleness.
Once I focused my full attention on the tightness, its source wasn’t hard to figure out. I received the designer’s second proof of my book yesterday evening, so I’m one step closer to publication.
Staying Present Is a Struggle
During my meditation, thoughts kept popping up about everything I could have been doing to boost my social media presence in advance of the launch. Thoughts about future scenarios barged their way in as well—wondering how the book will be received, whether it will matter that I haven’t been pushing a firm launch date after changing designers at the eleventh hour, and how I will handle the increased work load that awaits me as marketing efforts gain momentum.
I noted them for what they were, mere thoughts, and let them float by without getting caught up in the dramatic story they were trying to create.
Here’s the thing. I was careful just now to write “could have been doing” instead of “should have been doing.” Yes, I’ve taken webinars on social media marketing. No, I haven’t followed through with a lot of it until now.
So, like with pretty much everything else in my life, my book marketing will be of the slow and steady variety rather than the big splashy sprint from the starting line.
At the end of my Headspace session this morning, Andy said just what I needed to hear: it’s when we’re waiting for something to happen, rather than staying grounded in the present moment, that we feel unsettled. “Waiting” was the source of the tightness around my heart when I woke up this morning.
My Coffee Mug Took Over Where Meditation Left Off
It’s possible I would have felt fully settled had I spent longer than my usual twenty minutes on my bench this morning. But twenty minutes is what I have found to be sustainable if I’m aiming to stick to a daily routine.
That’s why it’s important to look for opportunities to practice mindful presence throughout the day. Mindfulness mentors are all around us. My personal favorites are my garden and photography. But in the wee hours of the morning on a cold and blustery winter day, my coffee cup fills the bill.
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