I was thinking about mindfulness and how it can apply to home organization. So I decided to look up the meaning to see if was a good word choice. There are several definitions depending on whether it’s used in reference to Buddhism or psychology.
The more general meaning of mindfulness is paying attention to what is going on at the current moment of our life. In other words, paying attention on purpose in the present moment without being judgmental. Hard to say, even harder to apply.
Mindfulness is usually referring to our thoughts and learning to control them. When chaos is all around us in the form of clutter then our thoughts are not usually nonjudgmental. They are more about:
- Who made the mess?
- How did it get this bad?
- Why am I the one who always has to clean it up?
- How did so many things accumulate so fast?
- Why can’t anyone let go of these things including me?
On and on the negative thoughts swirl around in your head.
Learning to pay attention on purpose to these thoughts can help us learn how to control them. When we are aware that our surroundings are causing these negative thoughts then we have greater freedom to respond instead of react.
Many times we are on auto-pilot as we go through the day. If we do this while cleaning a bathroom or washing the dishes then it is okay because we have created good habits to take care of these necessary jobs. But if we put the mail on the counter to “deal with later”, or leave the snack dishes and games, etc. out in the family room to “deal with in the morning” then we are on auto-pilot in a bad way.
These are the times we need to practice mindfulness. We need to learn to pay attention on purpose in the present moment so we can take care of our environment.
So next time you start building or adding to a hot spot, stop and take a deep breath. Get off auto-pilot for a moment and become aware of your current thoughts. Do you dread dealing with the mail? Are you too tired to clean up the family room before bed? When you become aware of the thoughts that are causing the bad habit then you can take the steps needed to change it.