How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything
My Life is my Practice
We can get a lifetime of learning and living fully from the saying , “This is my practice”.
I will quote a wise tea sage …and yes, I read a journal ONLY about tea. (Interested? It is the Tea and Tao magazine, published by Global Tea Hut.)
“…practice is not separate from everyday life. Whatever it is you are doing, it has the potential to become part of your practice with the right orientation, no matter how mundane it may appear on the surface…”
Just think about what that means to you….
Then, I will share with you what that means to me.
We all do tasks, actions, and participate in activities that might seem mundane, super ordinary, boring, or maybe that we even choose to avoid or not like as much.
Some examples could be: Washing your clothes, weeding a garden, picking up debris or trash, cleaning the dishes you eat from, taking care of someone every day, or brushing your teeth. It really could be anything you do that is unique to your circumstances.
Also, I notice often our wellness or health-giving practices are separated from the other tasks and parts of our lives. These are practices that support us, help us notice, and keep us present in our lives. We do meditation, take a yoga class, go to a gym or do a workout, practice stress relief and my list goes on and on.
What if you could practice all the time with whatever you are doing?
Of course, still keep on practicing wellness and healthcare in a focused way meaningful and supportive for you. I know I do.
But, how do we even begin to work with actually doing “this is my practice”, my life is just my life, and is my practice? Instead of just thinking about it, analyzing it, coming up with plans, or writing about it? How do we just make it real for us?
I’ll share with you how I do it, how it works for me. Maybe, you can adapt it for yourself in a way that works for you? I am sure of it. Otherwise, why would I write this for you?
For me, I like to keep it simple.
I find that simple works. Easy is awesome. And doing these tiny small super simple tasks and shifts are huge. Literally. Life-changing over time. So, yes, I keep it simple and just work at that in all that I do.
When I notice that I have a thought arising that diminishes the task I am doing, makes it negative, or something that I dread or find exceptionally boring or don’t want to do. I pause. (most of the time, not always). I reframe that thought. It is really SO easy to do. But at the same time very challenging. As you have to do it. Then, you need to work at believing it. This is not affirmation work; this is the real work of shifting mindset and perspective.
How? Read on for some simple suggestions…
If I am really rooted in thinking in a way that is not very helpful, it might take a few tries. So, I might say: “This does suck and that’s okay for now. I am working at being okay with doing this”. Then, when I get to the point, that I actually believe that thought, I change it a bit more. To something like: “Doing this is okay for now, I am working at liking it or appreciating it”. And so on. (I can help you do this more concretely)
Until I really just do it, appreciate it, and maybe even like it. I try to keep my thoughts short and simple. My sentence examples above are longer so that maybe you take part of it and remaster it for yourself. Eventually, I create feeling grateful or just okay and focus on the task more fully.
How I do a simple task easily and make it my practice.
I focus on it and just notice what I am doing. It’s not a big deal. I just pay attention. When I do that, I become aware that I don’t feel rushed or frenetic or pushed to do the next task—even if I have a lot to do at that time. I just do it.
When we focus and pay attention, we change our brain over time and actions become easier and easier.
The last thing I add in is simple breathing while I do what I do. I find that is a great way to practice breathwork all the time and retrain your body to breathe naturally and healthfully. Moving away from mouth breathing and the like. Plus, when I do some simple breathing, I am more immersed in my task, I feel good and I seem to do a better or good enough job with it. (go here for a free breathwork practice)
Get moving or even hanging…
If my tasks are more stationary or sedentary, I add in movement or different positions. They could be labeled, but I just call it movement. Keeping it simple! I don’t even think about doing it now, I just do it. I have made it part of my lifestyle and my living space is set up to encourage that in very simple ways.
For example, If I am washing dishes, I might pause and stretch back away from the sink or stretch my arms up. If I am sitting, I might get up and stretch my arms up to the top of a door frame like I am hanging. Consider reaching up and hanging like movements as they are incredible for your body. I actually put monkey bars across a room in my house. I just walk by and hang out!
(In an upcoming, I will share helpful ideas and ways for you to integrate movement in practical ways. In the meantime, feel free to reach out to me and ask for resources.)
Let me make this more real with an example from my life: washing my clothes.
Somehow, Somewhere I had decided that I just did not like to wash my clothes. Maybe it was because I always felt as I was washing my clothes as I lead a lifestyle where they often get very dirty. I also don’t own a lot of clothes.
Back to washing clothes—I even decided that I hated folding clothes. Why fold wash clothes? Or towels? I went as far as to hang it all in my closet. And get a basket for towels and washcloths and just toss them in when they are clean. No folding. No drama.
I don’t want to wear my dirty sweaty smelly clothes over and over. I like putting on mostly clean clothes. Also, I like using a clean towel. So, I realized that wow. Washing clothes is useful. So, I ended up deciding over time that I like washing my clothes—I am so grateful to wash my clothes. Why not love it? So, I choose Love. yes—I repurpose that quote to include laundry.
To come clean :), part of my returning to loving laundry is: At some point during my accident healing time while going through surgery after surgery, I had become skeletal in size. I also decided to give away almost all my clothes. My mom and partner, Christopher’s story is: “We could not stop you when your mind is set on something you do it, even if it’s surgery drug-induced.”
So, the outcome for me is I don’t have a lot of clothes; but it turned out awesome as I have less washing to do!! But, then it also became challenging at the same time as when I was able to eat food, chew food and my body re-learned proper digestion, I gained all my weight back plus some. and I had hardly any clothes that fit me.
I also added pause and breathwork when I fold my clothes. I often squat while folding clothes. And overall somehow, I now appreciate doing my laundry, it’s no big deal for me
I wish you the best in also working at making your life and day your practice… How you do anything is how you do everything!