Mindfulness in the Morning

Hear my alarm. Hit snooze. Hear my alarm again. Roll out of bed. Rush to the train. Elbow anyone who dare stands in my way. Arrive at the office. Somewhat sweaty, out of breath, and pissed off. Begin work.

Sound familiar?

Since I started working in Manhattan over a year ago, I've perfected the art of the stressful commute. It became my everyday routine, and I didn't question it – until a few days ago.

I had finished a novel last weekend and was waiting for my next one to come in the mail. Not wanting to be bored on the train ride into work, I scoured my bookshelf for something to bring. I dusted off a copy I'd purchased a few years back of Thich Nhat Hanh's "You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment" and shoved it in my bag. I'd been meaning to read it for a long time. I'd just never gotten around to it (an overused excuse of mine).

As I passively started reading it, catching my breath from barely making the train, something in it spoke to me. Many things, actually, but for the sake of avoiding a long and passionate tangent, I'll stick to just one of those things. This book shed a new light on the power of living in the present moment. It's always been something I was really good at preaching, but in actuality, sucked at practicing. (Case in point: my "commuter habits".)

Thich Nhat Hanh says that we must "make contact with everything that is beautiful, refreshing, and healing. We need that – we need the nourishment of a gorgeous sunset, a child's smile, the song of a bird, the company of a friend." And all of this is only accessible through being mindful in the present moment. We're constantly trying to "arrive" somewhere when, in fact, we are already there. And we should cherish that destination, free of the rush and anxiety that we're so good at imposing on ourselves.

I decided to get off my pedestal and replace preaching with practicing, starting with my morning routine. So, instead of beginning my Friday morning by hitting snooze half a dozen times, I would wake up at the crack of dawn with my fiancé and find a café. We would order coffee, sit in the quiet of the morning with new surroundings, and enjoy each other's company.

And that's exactly what we did.

We chatted for an hour about topics ranging from silly to serious, watching the world come to life around us. I can't begin to describe how refreshing this was. Or, as Thich Nhat Hanh would say, "nourishing". I left the café feeling light and unhurried, comfortably walking into the office early, ready to start my workday with a peaceful mindset.

As we all know, every journey begins with a single step. But every step, if taken in the right direction, can be powerful. I plan to continue making strides in the direction of mindfulness, taking a deep breath and inhaling everything simple and beautiful that life has to offer. Will you?

DesigningHannah Pike