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05.05.2016
The concept of Mindfulness sounds so nice and delicious, being in a state of calmness and awareness while the chaos of the world crashes around you. Unfortunately wanting to achieve such a state is the great paradox of practicing mindfulness, you don’t need to do anything except notice, watch and let go. While I’m no Eckhart Tolle or Jon Kabat Zinn, I’ve had my own fair share of run ins with mindfulness practice where I’ve been at the rough edge of my own judgement and felt the raw sting of personal punishment, yet also savored the incredible insights and wisdom to be found in just ‘being me’.
How many times have you felt yourself start to get angry at someone and you hear that little voice in your head carry on like a pork chop and you’re noticing it and but you can’t seem to control it. This is where you have to put your ‘amazing’ hat on and just sit back in the sheer wonder that you’ve noticed that you’ve noticed yourself, doing something that you’ve been able to notice. The next thing that usually happens after you’ve sprayed vitriol at someone or realised you’ve slipped back into calling yourself stupid or fat, we judge ourselves. To avoid the destructive judging reaction, try and become the cadet reporter and get your left brain to just ‘take notes’ on what happening, without judging it. After you’ve elevated yourself to the status of Judge, Jury and executioner in the one instant moment it’s now time to punish yourself and punish yourself severely.
You let go of the anchors of the past and future and simply smile at the sound of the birds, notice train of thought about what an awesome weekend it was running through your head and enjoy the smell of the coffee brewing.
The funny thing about letting go is that we think we’re missing out on something, because we’ve been conditioned to think linearly, backwards and forwards and that’s where our identity lies. A sense of freedom from past conditioning arises where you can unshackle yourself from old beliefs, habits, thought patterns and destructive behaviors. If you do punish yourself, take a deep breath and let it go, but keep noticing the whole time. Josh Langley is the author of “Dying to now – is there life after death?” (released in October through Big Sky Publishing) and two illustrated books on finding happiness, Frog and the Well – Unconventional Happiness and Follow Your Heart – Everyday Wisdom for an Extraordinary life (Big Sky Publishing).
Giving attention to your family’s schedule allows you the ability to deal with each busy day.
Becoming consumed by a busy schedule easily causes my attitude to change to the negative – anger, impatience, and irritation emerge with no control.
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Earth and Deep Relaxation, eating meditation and dealing with conflict and strong emotions. Clipping is a handy way to collect and organize the most important slides from a presentation. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing attention and energy to being in the present moment and having an awareness and acceptance of one’s feelings, thoughts, and body.
Research published in the Journal of Health Psychology shows that mindfulness is not only associated with feeling less stressed, it’s also linked with decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Pay attention to your attitudes and judgements: You may judge and be judged by others on a daily basis. There is, however, a little trick I’ve been using to avoid this pitfall and curb my own wasteful consumption. Over the past few years, I have put these consumption equations into effect around my home. I have tried to use this method anytime I buy now, be it shoes, tools, kitchen appliances and household goods. Our generation gets roped into everything from being the next Greatest Generation to being the potential downfall of society. This is something I am constantly struggling with, especially in the age of the internet where we are constantly being encouraged to buy, buy, buy. To me, mindfulness goes hand in hand with considering why and whether I really want something…it often begins with asking myself what I am *really* hungry for.
I really enjoyed this article and I hope there are more like this about ‘mindfulness’ to come! Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in a society where taxes paid for good health care, education and public transportation for everyone? Like you, I got to the point that if something should enter my home, it has to be something… sublime, something perfect. As someone who grew up in the 70’s I had a lifestyle that was about reclaiming, recycling and DIY, as did almost everyone that I knew. I’ve been thinking about mindfulness a lot this month in terms of food (my blogging area of expertise).
Being in a full state of saying ‘yes’ to whatever is happening, where you can be open and accept the activities of the present moment with a grace of a swan – “Yes that’s for me”. When you do that, ease and grace and happiness bubble up without you having to do anything. For those that are trying to practice the rather complicated art of mindfulness, here are a few little tips I’ve picked up along the way that may or may not be of help. You know you’re about to say something you’ll regret, you even try and talk yourself out of saying it, but then BAM!, you hear the words of vitriol at someone come pouring out like you’ve been possessed by some crazy spirit. We’ve made the incredible achievement to notice something about our inner world, but that’s not good enough, we have to then judge what we’ve noticed and then put it into different compartments and analyse it. A reporter only reports, doesn’t add opinion or personal commentary, so let your inner cadet journalist grab the notebook and pencil and start taking notes. For some people it can be only a few minutes, for others it’s just another nail in the coffin of their long-term happiness aspirations.
But once you start to be the ‘noticer’ and do it gently, you notice that life isn’t linear, it’s vertical, it’s spacious, it’s multidirectional, it’s multidimensional. You may not change anything, but you now have the choice to change and that makes the biggest difference.
It’s about giving you mental space to make well informed choices and observations about yourself and deconstruct the solid personality of this incarnation, so you can live lighter, honestly, more authentically and prevent getting ‘stuck’ in belief systems.
These traits are inherent to us, but we need to bring some awareness upon them so that they can become stronger and more prevalent.
From multitasking, working a full-time job, and getting the kids to the babysitter, to making dinner, staying on top of laundry, exercising, and everything in-between, it’s no wonder we can sometimes feel really stressed. But taking a moment to connect with the things you are doing can change your mindset and leave you feeling less stressed. When you focus on listening, you are intentionally paying full attention to what’s going on around you or the conversation you are engaged in. Being in the present means focusing your attention on what you are doing while you are doing it rather than thinking about what’s next or what just passed. By starting out small and working on one thing at a time, you may find that you are able to make every moment count. All of my purchases, or at least most of them, are made with this simple equation in mind: NEED + WANT, or better yet, NEED+LOVE. The ability to see one’s flaws, to know that one will always have flaws, and to confront and claim responsibility for these flaws on a daily basis.


Your perspective is enlightening, and it’s nice to know others are thinking about these things. I’ve tried very hard to break the Gen-Y mold and purchase items I not only love and will use over and over, but that I know will last. It brings to mind a saying I heard a few years back that I have tried to impliment into my life. How nice it is to own a product that you can stand behind and know where it came from and the conditions in which it was made, and you know most of these products are worth the price because rarely do I have to fix or replace them. But, when I find myself wanting cheap thrills, unhealthy thrills, or a quick fix, at this point, I don’t weaken like I used to. I’ve been trying to make this shift for the last couple of years and it is HARD, but so, so worth it. We need to re-open the definition of design, it’s been closed around the idea (ideal?) of new for so long. I’d take it one step further and say that our love affair with rapid-fire consumption cheapens our relationships with our community.
I love reading your stuff (just read through almost all the Manhattan Nest posts too, reads just as easily!).
I’ve been reading a lot lately about living with less, and am really trying to implement this in my life.
It seems it has taken me getting a little older (and hopefully a little wiser) to realize that patience when addressing my own home is a virtue.
I have always bought the best that I could afford, so I have fewer material items but I have only had things that I really loved and used. As a stay-at-home-mom I constantly find myself trolling the mall with my daughter and mindlessly buying stuff on sale that I don’t really need.
And I commend Martha Stewart for wondering publicly about fixing her iPad…hopefully she really does get it repaired! January brings to mind all those salad- and smoothie-centric diets and cleanses, and in a mindfulness paradigm, they don’t make sense. It’s like Jewish guilt and Catholic martyrdom rolled into one and you’re destined to carry the load for all eternity. In fact you should rejoice in the fact that you noticed you ‘lost it’ and then be renewed because next time you just might catch yourself earlier. Let go of judgement, punishment and any thoughts about the last moment, simply start noticing what’s happening in THIS moment.
This overscheduled environment has the ability to decrease family communication, kindness, and patience.
Remember to breathe, focusing on each breath, naturally encourages your mind to be present.
Your attitude determines your family’s response to you, and how everyone deals with busy schedules.
And in the rush of everyday tasks, we may feel that we have lost our connection with the present moment.
Other studies suggest that by practicing mindfulness, you may sleep better, experience lower blood pressure, and feel less anxiety. For example, enjoy every moment of your walk to work; notice your surroundings and think about and feel the crisp air on your face. Take a few moments to relax and breathe the next time you are experiencing a stressful situation.
In response, The Internet did what it is wont to do in such a situation and fired back with its trademark level of totally irrational venom. Too often, I see myself and others around me falling into the trap that snares many a post-Baby Boomer American—the idea that our world (and our home) is only what we see in front of us. When I make a purchase with just one half of these equations in play, whether out of necessity or lust, I will likely only contribute to the ongoing cycle of needless, wasteful consumption. Purchased at any one of the faceless stores in the shopping mall, they are easy on the wallet and, for a short time, on the eyes. To me, the benefit to my quality of life and my impact on the earth far outweighs the added cost and time spent hunting.
I often think what we really need to do is focus on resource management because we have so much already. Even though I have only been mindfully practicing this for a month, it is amazing how much money I have saved! Granted he may have taken the waste not to hoarding levels, but he always had what he needed to fix things.
One point that I would argue is that this is not as much a generational thing as a community thing.
Looking forward to learning more about the makers and products you guys love that embody these beliefs on the blog this year. Agree with Candace above about wealthy people being wealthy because they are not wasteful (sometimes).
Reading Cradle to Cradle in my Sustainable Design class at Pratt about 7 years ago introduced a new and unforgettable perspective on the acquirement (and replacement) of things.
Nonstop buying as an activity (especially online shopping) is pretty antisocial, whereas repairing and reusing and, most of all, sharing things with neighbors builds bonds and supports local tradespeople. The concept of only buying things that qualify as need+love is so beautifully simple and powerful. I saw a sneak peek on D*S once, about a girl that only had a couple of high quality clothes in her wardrobe, said she didn’t need any more. After years of working with clients that have short deadlines to get things done, I started taking that philosophy to heart. Not only is this wasteful and a contribution to a company whose philosophy with which I disagree, it also means that she must again spend money on replacement items. It has really hit home with me this January how stressful all that clutter is in my home and I’m trying to streamline my home this year.
I think it’s hard for DesignSponge because you talk about many cool products, but many of those products are from stores like IKEA that have many questionable practices.
Moving frequently for the last 8 years has ingrained a lot of bad furnishing and decorating habits. Now you then have to get all-deep and try and work out which is the real you, the part that notices or the part that sprouting off about the silly driver in front of you?
It takes bravery to stop judging ourselves so harshly, but we must be brave otherwise we won’t be able to make any progress.
Practicing mindfulness as a family, whether done together or individually, leads to well-balanced family.
Even looking around you and being aware of the beauty that exists and the blessing of having a family is a step in the right direction for developing mindfulness as a family. With the teacher’s guidance and our willingness to be there, the journey to self discovery begun.


Take one deep breath by inhaling through your nose, and notice the air going into your chest all the way to your abdomen. But mindfulness—that term we keep coming back to this month—mindfulness seems like an awfully good place to start.
Purchasing with both sides of these equations, though, assures that I will likely use my purchase and hold onto it for a long time. Without fail, however, after a good winter of wearing, these poly-blend coats will have all but disintegrated, their toggles missing and their fabric misshapen into an unrecognizable, faux-wool blob.
I started teaching a class called Wardrobe Revamp when I found out people were throwing clothes away because they lost a button.
As a twenty-something myself, I know people my age whose buying practices fall all over the spectrum, but within my community (all ages included) discussions about re-use and investing in quality are favorite topics and points of pride. I thought that was so inspiring and since then I think of that when getting something new (or vintage). I decided that I would finish my home over time, so what that I still have aunties floral handmedowns mixed with my newer modern stuff. In short, she spends more in the end than she would if she had spent more wisely and on higher quality in the first place. But products were made so much better then, before the introduction of so much cheap China product.
I find that often I buy things because I want to beautify my home or be creative with color. As consumers in the western world, we are wildly separate from the items we consume, live with, and ultimately dispose of. Being mindful of where your products come from, mindful of how you will use them, and mindful of what you can do to fix them if and when they break.
In the end, I realized that this was no better for the environment than it was for my own wallet. The important thing is to keep an open mind, to learn as much as you can, and to actively move towards making yourself a better person.
Some donated damaged clothes are sold to textile recyclers, but most is simply tossed or passed on to predatory resellers to be shipped to sub-Saharan Africa.
A hard lesson to learn when every cent counts, but one that makes a big impact once we embrace it and learn to wait for what’s really worth it. Thrift stores were full of beautiful clothes made of natural fibers that were beautifully made and so so cheap. It seems contradictory to see those posts, and yet read these thoughtful and complicated entries. If I’d been patient and made good choices in the beginning, it would have been cheaper overall! Over my years of practice (there aren’t that many!) it’s interacting with all of those strangers where I open up. Repeat as many times as you wish, remembering to concentrate on the feeling of each breath. As I read through these various responses, though, I couldn’t shrug the faint feeling I had of shameful self-recognition. Objects arrive on sanitized store shelves as if by magic and we grab them up, caring little about their point of origin or method of manufacture.
Most especially, though, mindful of whether you really even want them in the first place, because this seems to factor into all of the above. I realized a little while ago that many of the products I purchased in the past where placeholders—shoddy constructions that I bought for their low price tag and the fact that they simply did their job (until breaking, that is—which they were bound to do sooner than later). In an effort to spend less money, I ended up spending more money in the long-run on products I only sort of wanted—products that are now cluttering my closet… or a landfill. Well, I suppose I can make do without a seating area, a reading light, and coffee—at least for the time being.
Best to buy thoughtfully and purchase long-lasting products that can be used many, many times and then readily repaired and ultimately recycled completely. I still have a cashmere sweater that I bought in the early 80’s for a few dollars and still wear. When I’m at the mall, instead of buying new stuff, I look at the store displays for inspiration instead.
At home, we use these objects until they fulfill their purpose, they break, or we simply grow tired of them. In an effort to kick this bad spending habit, I finally bit the bullet and invested in a wonderful coat that I can actually get behind—in terms of quality, comfort, aesthetics, origin, and manufacture.
Growing up in Nigeria there was nothing that couldn’t be fixed with some tape, a screwdriver, a soldering iron, and patience.
All their different ways of being and exploring becomes a source of inspiration.Two months later, those strangers have names. Good for her for getting things fixed! It was, why would somebody who could clearly afford to simply replace her device go about trying to repair it?
Then—more often than not—we put them out on the curb where they are taken away just as magically as they appeared. After buying it on the cheap (oftentimes because its costs had been externalized to the environment and underpaid workers), the time or cost involved in repairing it just seems silly compared to simply replacing it.
The fact that I actually invested thought, time, and saved pennies into this item makes me actually care for it, so much so that when it frays or breaks, I am quick to repair and maintain it. It should also be noted—something need not cost a lot for it to be a treasure. Learning to wait for the right item (and saving the necessary pennies if it’s expensive) can be difficult, especially for a Gen-Y-er like myself! Lol of course sometimes this was out of necessity since there wasn’t an Apple store down the road. A smile comes to my face when thinking of our time together.Now our weekly time together is over. I have found dozens of things I hold equally dear in thrift shop bins, sale racks, and vintage stores—the key is waiting for what you love! We don’t see the sweatshop conditions within which our heavily marked-down products are made.
I can now say that, with few exceptions, I love and care for just about everything in my home. Let’s bring more presence to the computer time that is here to stay!Pick and choose and change by the day, the season or the mood.Cheers to our time together! Few purchases have been made without consideration and love (or, if you will, mindfulness) and my home couldn’t be happier!
We often speak of purging or decluttering our houses at this time of year—but what does that really mean?



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