I use my morning hygiene as a way to determine just how mindful I actually am. And more often than not, I am totally lost in my thoughts and not at all present to the morning grooming routine. And here’s how I determine, I recently discovered that most mornings I sniff under my arms before getting dressed. This sniffing is not of the SNL Mary Katherine Gallagher kind, rather it’s simply an “I can’t remember if I’ve put deodorant on or not” kind of sniff. This is a little unsettling to me when day after day I can’t recall if I’ve rubbed a plastic tube into each arm pit. But it happens. The morning routine is the first time of the day that I get totally lost in my thoughts and am not the least bit present to what’s going on. It’s easily done on auto-pilot.
And let’s be honest, there is a part of me that thinks why bother being present to the 36500th time that I’ve brushed my teeth or 14600th time that I’ve put on deodorant? It’s pretty boring and what’s the real benefit of being present to it anyway? Right? I know if I get lost in my thoughts I can create all kinds of interesting things to think or even obsess about. And therein lies the problem. My mind is like a cauldron bubbling and brewing and the less present I am, the more toxic the brew becomes with assumptions, overreactions and dramatic renderings of situations. Granted there are also energized, creative thoughts as well, and the mix of the two can dilute the negative thinking just enough to allow me to rationalize that it’s all valid and real.
So I have found that, boring as it may be, working at being fully present allows me to have a much calmer mind and if I want to crank the volume up a tad bit more, I can be present and experience gratitude for all that I’m doing. Gratitude for the running water to brush my teeth, gratitude for the toothpaste that cleans my teeth. And then fully feel the gratitude for the teeth that perform so beautifully in this complex body. Next on to the arm pits.