Mindfulness: Thinking (without speech) about the intent, purpose of an action, having a clear comprehension of a moment.
It is not a new idea, its has genesis in both Buddhism and western philosophy. The difference between the two is that in Buddhism it is a unconscious faculty that you acquire on your path to enlightenment In the western world it is a practice that requires conscious thought and has a role in the treatment of addiction and compulsive disorders. Its the basis for meditation.
Recently, Mindful insert word here has become all the rage. I hear about it on TV, the radio and it is a pervasive theme on many lifestyle blogs. I hear it most commonly as it refers to parenting, eating and consuming. Mindful parenting. I guess that means that you think before you beat your child, JK. I guess it means you carefully consider your words and actions as you parent, you parent with intent, you know what you are doing and why. Sounds exhausting. While some of parenting, especially when kids are in their teenage years requires thoughtful strategies to keep them alive, I find that my instincts serve me just fine. Granted my instincts are not only a function of my innate motherly instincts but I have the benefit of good parents to draw upon, from what I can tell, it is not that common, so I know I am lucky.
Back to mindfulness and its more contemporary context. Mindful means you do it like Martha Stewart. Everything thing is a graceful, meaningful action, calmly executed with a heightened awareness of what it is you are doing. I recently read a blog post extolling the virtues of mindful laundering. Of course it requires 500 square feet of mindfully decorated dedicated space. While folding this
freak woman thinks about how lucky she is to have a family to clean up after, how lucky she is that she has clothes to wash, how lucky she is to have a machine to wash it and not have to wash the clothes on a rock. She also is continuously trying to improve her washing and folding of her clothes by implementing new strategies?? I guess it depends on the person but I see folding laundry as a shit job that is on a continuous loop and since its necessary, you persevere. Why even try to make this meaningful? I watch Real Housewives while I fold laundry. It allows me to be brain dead, I am mindless for a moment. I do mindful mindlessness well.
I guess our society has developed to the point that we have the luxury to think about laundry as task that warrants a higher awareness. I guess for some people this makes them happy. What makes me happy? Doing my job well. Being thoughtful mother when it counts, executing the operating tasks and processes well as they relate to making a home. And finding joy when and where I can and trusting that joy will find me too, without trying too hard.
And all of this is not to say that I dont believe in mindful insert word here. I do think mindful eating along with cooking is elemental to a healthy, happy person. Mindful consuming/giving is essential as a citizen of the world. But mindful laundry, nail care and grout cleaning, not so much. Mindful driving on the otherhand, given the hours I clock on the road, is a practice that makes sense.