These 5 words encompass mindfulness for me. Whether I am meditating, writing, running or any number of activities. I do my best to “Act Like I Mean It”
My Dad first said these words to me when I was lazily using a hammer to pound nails while helping him on a project.
He was upset with me when he said them and sounded angry.
He had a point though. While lazily swinging the hammer, I often missed the nail and marked the wood with the hammer.
When Dad yelled, I immediately changed my posture. It didn’t feel good to be yelled at. But the amazing thing is when I changed my posture, and paid attention to what I was doing, the energy in my body flowed differently.
I began to hit the nail consistently. I was acting like I meant it.
At various other times in my life, I acted like I didn’t care, didn’t want to do it, or like I was somewhere else instead of in the present moment.
Early in my work life, I needed to write a document about how a computer program functioned. This documentation was important since other programmers would be using the program as the framework for their projects.
I didn’t like writing documentation. I thought it was stupid and so I acted lazy. I felt sleepy the whole time I was writing it. In the end I turned in a sloppy mess that wouldn’t help anyone understand how to use the product.
When my boss read it, she minced no words about what a piece of garbage I had written. I was to fix it and turn it in again.
This time, I wanted to please her. She was someone I got along well with and wanted to do a good job for her.
I wrote the next draft as though I meant it. She was pleased with the final copy and I felt good about the work I had done.
There are chores around the house that need done every day or every week.
- Sweeping up the floor
- Taking out the trash
Acting like these things don’t matter leaves the house a mess. Clothes can pile up on the floor, the kitchen floor feels dirty as I walk in my bare feet, the trash overflows and so on.
I attempt to notice when these things need done. Some happen on a schedule. I usually do laundry on Sunday but, am aware of the need to do it early if Sunday is going to be busy.
I like the feeling of having these things done. As well as the feeling of doing it mindfully. Acting like I mean it.
When I act like I mean it, tasks get done quicker.
Here’s a good example.
As an early riser, I often head to the kitchen and make coffee first thing.
There are several things that need done at this point.
- Empty the dishwasher.
- Boil water
- Grind Coffee
- Heat up oatmeal or quinoa for breakfast
Each of these things takes only a few minutes. If I didn’t take the attitude that I can act like I mean it, then I would live in a messier house and perhaps only the coffee would get made.
Acting like I mean it, all of these things takes 15 or 20 minutes. Then I’m sitting down enjoying breakfast and coffee.
This same thing can be true of your meditation. When your ego is jumping about from thought to thought your posture can go slack, pain may arise in your back, you find yourself looking at the clock wondering why you are still sitting in meditation.
The key is to recognize your ego, straighten your posture, and return your attention to your breath, to your hara. Act like you mean it.
Notice things in your daily life that you don’t care to do. Make a game out of doing them. Act like it’s important to get it done. Notice the reason behind doing them. Set a timer so you can stop and move on to something else.
I often set a timer to know when I plan to move on to a different task.
I did this with the laundry this morning. In 15 minutes, I emptied the dryer, folded clothes, put them away, stripped the bed so I could wash the sheets, put the sheets in the washing machine. As I was putting fresh sheets on the bed, the timer went off. I decided to finish the task and five minutes later, I was pouring a glass of water and sitting down to write this post.
Now I won’t need to face the thoughts that my ego may come up with had I not finished those things as quickly and efficiently as I did. I know that if there were no sheets on the bed at 10 o’clock tonight, I would be tempted to sleep on a quilt and feel irritated the sheets weren’t there.
Acting like I meant it, I got small things done in a short amount of time leaving plenty of time to do more of the things I love to do.