O is for Opportunities

Opportunities for mindfulness

‘Woodbrooke is full of opportunities’ said Murray ‘there are stairs everywhere. Everytime you climb the stairs it can be an opportunity to do so mindfully.’

‘What if you forget?’

‘You have to go down and start again – that’s a buddhist joke’ we were told.


All our activities of daily living can be opportunities for mindfulness if we remember to see them that way, but this particular example of the teaching has stayed in my mind. Especially as I could immediately see that my workplace was similarly full of steps and stairs, being a converted building. That gave me a good way of continuing the practice when I got home from the retreat.


This year my workplace has moved and we are now in a modern building with full disabled access and I can avoid stairs completely if I choose to (and there are days when my walking (in)ability makes me glad to). This has meant I’ve needed to look for other reminders to mindfulness. Here are some of my current favourite opportunities:


Walking – to work, home from work, down the corridor at work (It may be level, but it is long and the staff toilets are at the far end!)


Signing in to the computer. At work my passwords use words or reminders of phrases that remind me to be mindful. Obviously, I’m not going to tell you exactly what they are, but you can think of some for yourself I’m sure.


Preparing vegetables. I used to fill the kitchen with the news on the radio while I prepared food, but increasingly I prefer to just prepare food. That tends to mean I know less about what the news reports are saying and I am aware need to watch the balance there.


Washing up. Ditto to preparing vegetables.


Fruit picking, weeding, generally working on the allotment and being present and aware of the natural world. If I could cultivate this attitude to housework the house might get cleaned!


My current challenge is to remember any of these good intentions beyond 8am.

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