Mindfulness Activity #53
Mindful Cup of Coffee
In honor of Mother’s Day, today’s mindfulness is inspired by my mother who taught me that literally anything could be achieved with a good, strong cup of coffee and some quiet time to plan. My mother raised seven children while working as a physician at a time when women were not welcomed into the medicine. She currently competes in triathlons, and has competed and finished the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Her goal is to be a finisher at 80 years of age, and I know she will do this.
I have lots of thoughts about the expectations of mothers in our society. The idea of selflessness and self-sacrifice is baked into our culture. It is not enough to feed, people post pictures of food crafted to look like animals in neat little bento boxes. There are websites that admonish mothers for not being present enough and others that advocate that doing too much for our kids is damaging…they should be more “free range.” It seems that criticism is always present if one is open to it. Guilt is a useful emotion when it is justified. You hurt someone and you need to make amends. However, when guilt is not justified, it is as yesterday’s mindfulness taught, a terrible waste of time and energy. Radical acceptance of imperfection is essential in order to change.This applies to all of us—not just to mothers who struggle with balancing the needs of others with their own. Perfection can be the enemy of good. The antidote for unjustified guilt is doing the thing that makes you guilty. Taking time to do something you like, unapologetically, even in the face of a busy to-do list is important.
One way we can begin to practice getting rid of any perfectionism or unjustified guilt is to stop everything and just have a cup of coffee. This is a perfect way to begin your day, enjoying the aroma and feel and look of a good cup of quality coffee. The trick is not to begin thinking of everything you need to do, rather simply to enjoy the experience for yourself before anything else.
For today’s practice either mindfully make or get a cup of coffee and fix it how you like it. Now sit and take in the smell of the coffee, hold the cup in your hand and feel the warmth. As you drink your coffee, demand nothing else of yourself. Just drink the coffee. Do not think of what you will do next or what you should be doing—just enjoy the quiet and your coffee.
When you are finished, if you want to take some time to plan your day or to think about plan a bigger goal or dream, you might find yourself in a good state of mind to do so. With guilt and negative thoughts removed, anything is possible. If you find yourself blocked by guilt or self-doubt later in the day or the week, stop–make a cup of coffee, enjoy your coffee, and press re-set. Some of us may need to switch to decaf as this might involve a pot or two!
Have a day free from unnecessary guilt or worries and mindful of possibilities!