Strawberries are in season. My kids, like most, love strawberries. They’re too cheap to walk past at my local grocers and I recently brought home two large punnets for the family.
Now, it’s a fast-paced world we’ve found ourselves in. The exponentially growing desire for information, efficiency and success has somewhat narrowed our view and almost definitely shortened our attention span. Everyone wants a life hack, a shortcut, less busywork; the constant rush to get from A to B as quickly as possible so we can focus on C. These are all fair things to want. Sometimes though, it pays to slow down and indulge in the often-maligned minutia of life.
A Life Most Ordinary
Back to the strawberries. I arrived home with the shopping and any number of other tasks to get through. We had guests coming the next day and there was a list of food prep to work on. I was about to shove the strawberries in the fridge but reluctantly kept them out, knowing they’d need to be washed at some stage. What does all this have to do with mindfulness? Well, what I chose to do next is not revolutionary or overly interesting, but an act of mindfulness on a mundane level. Mundane but, in my mind, foundational for living a more intentional existence.
I’m all for a kitchen shortcut, and I have a somewhat irrational dislike for washing fresh food, but on this day I decided to take my time and do it properly. I put all the strawberries in a colander and let the tap run over them as I scrubbed tiny pieces of dirt off them. After they were all washed, instead of putting them straight in a tub, I carefully dried them individually with paper towel. I picked out little bits of detritus that had made its way into the batch and cut off any parts that had browned or softened. When I was satisfied I then put them all in a container and into the fridge, ready for our guests to snack on.
Does this all sound pretty boring to you? Well, it kind of is. But when I was engaged in this chore, I wasn’t bored. I didn’t think of it as something I had to do, but rather something I was doing. For just a few minutes I had one very achievable task to focus on, and then I was done.
Taking The Time
Some things we do for the satisfaction, some things we do for reward or money, some things we do just for fun. These larger achievements are all important, but it can be beneficial to take a wholistic approach to life’s fine print. Clear your head while folding the washing, know that you’re making your morning coffee, listen to your surroundings and open your mind on long drives. You may just come across a small piece of yourself you didn’t know was there.
It’s hard to love every minute of the day, but every now and then try and take the time to really be a part of life’s otherwise forgotten moments.