I used to love hummus. Hummus on tortillas, salads, sandwiches, carrots, everything. I bought Costco-sized tubs of hummus, adding it to most of my dinners, snacks, or lunches. Then, one day, I couldn’t stand hummus. What was once something I couldn’t get enough of was now almost repulsive to me.
“How did I ever enjoy this stuff?” I thought to myself, begrudgingly throwing away the final few unappetizing spoonfuls. I know what you’re thinking:
—Savannah, stop talking about hummus, what does that have to do with being mindful? This is such a weird way to start a post—
and I’m getting there. A couple days ago, I was at home, trying to make something to eat. A sudden and powerful craving came over me—I wanted hummus again!
(Bear with me. I’m almost done with my hummus humdrum)
On my next trip to Costco, I bought a tub of hummus, added it to my salad, and it was, again, delicious. Now, I thought, “How did I ever stop enjoying this stuff?”
What I’m trying to get at is that there are a lot of hummuses in our lives. There are many tasks, activities, foods, people, goals, dreams, ideas, and even thoughts that we get tired of, can’t imagine we ever enjoyed, or never thought we’d stop liking. I’ve cancelled and re-enrolled in the gym (twice), intermittently stopped surfing, writing, and reading; I’ve had people in my life with whom I loved spending time with, but suddenly struggled to connect to; I’ve let go of thoughts because I stopped wanting to hear them in my own head, only to have them return at another time. There is an ebb-and-flow to what we need at different times in our lives. Mindfulness is about understanding why you stopped (or started) enjoying the hummuses in your life.
Being mindful means paying attention to the internal, as well as being present in the external. Simultaneously checking in without tuning out. Being mindful of my relationships, thoughts, and my cravings (for alcohol, exercise, social time, foods) means continuously checking in with myself about what is going on internally and honoring, or sometimes resisting, those cravings. When I am aware of my thoughts and emotions, whether a silly emotion, like my sudden distaste for hummus, or something much bigger, such as a deep anxiety about something important, I am more connected to the next step I need to take. When I am mindful, I can create steps towards creating a solution, rather than be mired in the emotion.
When I am mindful and conscious in the present moment, I can honor my needs and create solutions. Rather than checking out of a difficult situation, mindfulness allows me to tune in and be effective, rather than deflective. Sometimes the solutions are simple. Other times, the solutions may be much more complex. Being mindful is a powerful tool for generating solutions, goals, and change, helping me to get un-stuck when I am especially lost.
In my Mindful Monday posts, I’ll be sharing different ways you can practice mindfulness—in the ocean, in your body, with others—to start your week of right. These small practices have drastically changed my life for the better, in so many ways, and I hope you enjoy trying out these tips and ideas in your own life. Just like hummus, you’ll love some of them, and you won’t love others. And that’s okay, as long as you’re mindful!
Be well, be present, and please keep checking in for more Mindful Monday posts.
I hope you’ll love them as much as I do.