Mindfulness: A Fundamental Practice in Organizing
About the author: This post is brought to us from our guest blogger, Maristella Bertram, a Certified Professional Organizer and owner of My Space Reclaimed, LLC, a luxury home organizing firm helping busy professionals fall in love with home again through organization, design, and energy balance.
Did you know one of the biggest reasons a house becomes disorganized is because we fail to place things back where they belong? Much of the blame for this goes to everyday absent-mindedness. And the antidote to this absent-mindedness is mindfulness. Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment through a gentle, nurturing lens. Mindfulness is one of the fundamental practices to live by when we wish to gain better control over how organized life can become.
The (Lack of) Focus in Everyday Life
Unfortunately, regardless of how focused we can be when something demands our attention, everyday menial tasks, things we routinely do, and how we move around in our home or work environment usually are not focus-demanding tasks. At least, we do not perceive them to be.When we get comfortable in specific routines, especially at home, we engage the mind in something that happened, something to come, or anything else but what lies in front of us at any given moment.
An Exercise in Mindfulness
Have you heard how a sustained focus on chewing food helps with weight loss. Concentrating on chewing achieves several things:
-We savor the food better.
-Digestion starts with the chewing process (it's supposed to).
-The brain reaches satiety with less food.
-The body absorbs nutrients more efficiently.
Notice that focusing on chewing food is an exercise in mindfulness. I remember undergoing this process during a 12-week mindfulness workshop that I participated in. At that time, paying full attention to chewing our food, we could taste even the additives and preservatives in the food. Talk about focus! This seemingly unrelated example illustrates how focusing attention and engaging the senses in a particular activity or life moment connect us with new information that ordinarily would have been overlooked. That is what mindfulness does. It makes us understand better what we do, how we do it, and why and how we feel about it without judgment.
Recognizing and Mending Mindless Patterns
If you need help with disorganization or feel you can't keep up with the house, the solution might be to focus on your actions, reactions, and thoughts at home. Notice those things you might be performing mindlessly. You'll recognize the pitfalls in your processes throughout the day. Noticing those instances will help correct the habits responsible for the home chaos. We could discuss many tips and tricks for this or that. We can list ways to become organized or maintain home systems. But as long as we remain mentally disconnected, habits won't change. Exercising mindfulness (as in being constantly present in the body and aware of our circumstances without judgment) is essential to change unhelpful patterns.
Nothing Like This Very Moment
Ever heard the quote "In the present moment is where your power lies?" I don't know a better quote to illustrate the power of mindfulness and focus on the NOW. Mindless operation is what makes us place the phone in the freezer, look for our glasses while wearing them, pour orange juice in the cereal, or take the dog's pills instead of ours: true story - this one has happened to me more than once!