I breathe in the aroma of Christmas spices. I feel the warmth of the cup of tea, holding it with both hands. I make a sip and feel the burning bitterness on my tongue. Too hot. I almost don’t feel any taste, but the pleasant warmth is filling my body starting from the throat and going down to the tummy. I wait for the tea to cool off a bit and focus on the sensations in my body. I feel irritated and tired after an hour of trying whatever it takes to put the little one to sleep. I walked holding him, rocked on the birthing ball, sang and shooshed and now I feel the tension of my back muscles, feel the dump pain between the shoulder blades and in my neck. I feel some heaviness in the chest as well. I catch myself thinking how much work I’ve got to do while the little one is asleep and feeling guilty about taking this time to have my tea. I breathe in and out into that feeling and return my attention to the cup of tea.
I make another sip. And again I feel the warmth. It is not burning anymore and not as intensive as after the first sip. But now I can also feel the rich spicy taste of the ginger and the sweeter aftertaste of cloves and cardamom. A light feeling of contentment fills my body. I notice the vast greyness of the sky outside. “Hello, old friend!” – I greet the drizzle. “You’re going to keep us company the whole day, aren’t you?”.
I got distracted again. I return the attention to the tea and make another sip. I feel that the intensity of the irritation is going down, I feel more relaxed and even the grey sky outside doesn’t bother me much. Another thought raises its head: “Shall we go and jump in the paddles when Adrian wakes up? He’s going to enjoy it for sure”. I return my focus to the tea again and do another sip.
What I tried to model may be called an open awareness meditation during the process of drinking tea. I could write that I lit some scented candles, played some Tibetan bowls sounds and sat to meditate in the lotus pose. I would love to be able to do that, but it’s a luxury that the busy mum very rarely has time to enjoy. On the other hand, being present while doing the small things during the day, observing our thoughts and feelings, and bringing awareness to the sensations in our body is possible even with a restless toddler jumping around.
And this is what the Mindfulness Moments section of my blog is about – short practices and meditations that can easily be integrated into the daily life of a busy mum. Choose the ones that you like and modify them to suit your daily lifestyle. While doing the practice, it’s important not to get dragged away with the train of thoughts. When the thoughts arise (and they will arise, that’s how our brain works), just make a note of them and bring the focus back to your breath, sensations in the body and feelings. If you feel guilty for abandoning a pile of laundry waiting for you or you feel irritated that you can’t concentrate, once again this is just what you feel at this moment, something to note and something not to judge yourself for.
Try to do this short practice for at least a week and notice how you feel after it.
Ready to have some tea together? Or maybe coffee or smoothie or whatever you drink? When you are ready, just keep calm and drink your tea. Do you feel better now?