We’re all busy people these days, me included. I used to rush everywhere, always living in the future, and when I wasn’t in a hurry I had my head bent over my phone.
When I started trying to slow it all down, I began looking into the art of being in the moment, or mindfulness. So one day I set myself the following task. It was so simple, and I discovered details about my neighbourhood I never knew existed. More importantly, it gave me a sense of calm, a pause in the busy rush of my day – and we all know how good that is for us, right?
1. On your way home, pick out one front door you happen to pass – any building or any house will do.
2. Notice small details in the short time you’re walking past. What’s the colour of the door, its number, its position? You might see more than that; a fanlight above the entrance. Scuff marks in the wood. Does it have a knocker or a bell? A letter box on the wall? What materials are used?
3. Move on and pick out another front door.
4. Consider how it differs from the first in those same small details.
Mindfulness – as I’m sure you know – helps us to become absorbed in the moment and to free ourselves from internal narratives. It decreases our stress levels, and thousands of people across the world have found it sanity-saving and fundamental to achieving calm and focus.
But if (like me) you’ve ever tried it, you’ll know how blinkin’ HARD it is to achieve.
This exercise is a tiny step towards relishing small details, of slowing the “multiple mind” and becoming aware of where we are: right here. Right now.