Defined as the state of focusing our awareness on the present moment, most of us understand what mindfulness is.
But let me introduce you to something I’ve challenged myself to do in an effort to become more mindful.
I call it “mine-fulness,” and I like to consider it a form of self-care.
Let me give you an example. How often do you see something—a sunset, a sweet kitten, or a scrumptious plate of food—and instantly snap a picture of it to share on social media? Are you guilty of having taken that ubiquitous picture of toes in the foreground, beach in background, icy drink on the table while on #vacation?
I admit that I’m guilty of all of this. Anyone who knows me well could read this and accuse me of being hypocritical.
As an amateur photographer, I’ve learned that things can change in the blink of an eye, and if you don’t take a snap, you can miss your shot. Or the light can change, and you don’t want to take a chance of losing that perfect moment.
At least that was my excuse. I like to think I know better now, so I’m trying to do better.
This all started when I began asking myself this question: for whom am I taking the picture?
Most of us, including me, routinely upload our lives to Instagram or Facebook to share with followers, friends, and family. Partly out of ego, partly out of habit, but mostly because everyone else is doing it.
But recently, I started to think about the last time I stopped and captured the moment for me. No, I don’t mean capturing it digitally. I mean capturing it mine-fully.
“Mine-fullness” involves completely absorbing the moment for me, myself, and I, before thinking about how I can share it with others. I’m taking what’s mine and focusing my awareness on that moment.
See that sunset? Put the camera down and really look at it. The first time I did this, I simply took a moment to notice the different colors. It wasn’t just yellow, orange, and red in front of me. I started to see the shades of pink and violet. I noticed a bird silhouetted against those colors. I watched that bird soaring and began to imagine how it must feel to be that bird, with the wind under my wings, flying against a palette of nature’s colors.
Who can resist a sweet kitten? When I saw a cat one day, instead of reaching for my smartphone, I reached for that spot under her chin that made her purr. I noticed the color of her eyes and how she lit up under my undivided attention. I took note and appreciated exactly how the experience made me light up, too.
“The camera eats first,” I’d often say, despite reading countless stories of waitstaff who get annoyed with patrons snapping photos of their food.
Yes, I was that girl.
However, since I started challenging myself to immerse my attention in each moment, I stop to take a few seconds before eating, inhale a couple of deep breaths, and give a little gratitude for the person who cooked the food. I stop to appreciate the presentation, the smell, and the colors of what’s on my plate. If I still feel inclined to capture that image, I do. But taking the “mine time” to fully appreciate the experience first makes the food taste even better.
Most people are tired of seeing the endless pictures of perfectly pedicured toes anyway, so now I just skip that picture altogether and enjoy the holiday I’ve been waiting for!
I have found there are so many moments when I can say, “That’s mine,” instead of immediately sharing with social networks.
Don’t miss a single opportunity to fully appreciate the smell of the fresh air, to feel the warmth of the sun, or to taste that drink just because you feel the compulsion to share the experience.
This is my challenge to you:
Spend a week engaging each of your senses and absorbing the messages they’re sending you before sharing with anyone else.
And say to yourself, “I am cultivating mine-fulness. I am fully calling this moment mine.”