Before the arrival of my little guy five years ago, I was a reasonably well-rested human being who meditated for thirty minutes early each morning. After rousing to my pre-dawn alarm, I would shuffle to the bathroom, splash some shockingly cold (but oddly pleasant) water on my face, and soon would be fairly awake and alert. On the occasional sleepy morning, the fantasy of some pre-meditation coffee would arise, but I never actually indulged. The rule-follower in me would have surely chastised loudly, What would the great meditation teachers think of that? Tsk, tsk. And so, regardless of my level of sleepiness, for better or worse, I sat for thirty decaffeinated minutes, making a beeline straight to my beloved coffeemaker as soon as that half an hour was up.
Confession time: my morning meditation has changed somewhat since that time. My older, and questionably wiser, self has taken to breaking this rule on occasion, often with a hint of rebellion (I did say hint, progress for someone usually so compliant). I broke the rule initially by necessity, but now I do it purely because I enjoy the habit. Yes, I often meditate while savoring my cup of coffee. I love the stuff. It may have saved my life on numerous occasions. In my estimation, it certainly deserves a meditation dedicated solely to its lovely qualities.
Whether you are a java aficionado like me or a tea lover, you can practice the mindful coffee break with your caffeinated or decaffeinated beverage of choice.
The Mindful Coffee Break: A note of caution: Before you settle in and sit down in a haze of sleepy fog, take note of where you place your coffee cup so as not to spill it all over the floor when you complete the mindful break. Trust me on this one.
Sit tall in a comfortable position, either in a chair or on a cushion on the floor. Holding your cup of coffee (or tea) in both hands, feel the warmth radiating into your hands, feel the smooth or coarse texture of the mug. Slowly lift the mug to your nose and inhale the scent as if for the first time. Without judgment, notice what thoughts arise. Notice how the muscles in your arms know just what to do as they lift the cup to your mouth.
Despite the urge to ingest the caffeine as soon as humanly possible (sounds a little desperate, but I’ve been there), see if you can pause for a moment and observe what happens. Is your mouth watering in sweet anticipation? Are your thoughts screaming for you to please take a giant swig already? Just notice. Then, with deliberate action, place the cup to your lips. Now, take that first glorious sip and hold the flavorful liquid in your mouth, tasting as fully as you can. As you swallow, experience the warmth moving its way down your throat and into your stomach. Pause. Take a breath before your next sip. As you do, notice what occurs in the body. Has your heart rate increased? Does your mind feel more alert? Are the sensations pleasant or unpleasant? Tuning into our body sensations offers us subtle information we might otherwise miss. Perhaps you relish the mental sharpness that occurs. Perhaps you realize the caffeine causes slight feelings of anxiety and you decide to live without. These sensations and reactions may also shift over time. Keep watching. Stay curious. Enjoy.
Credit line: Excerpted from Breathe, Mama, Breathe: 5-Minute Mindfulness for Busy
Moms © Shonda Moralis, 2017. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The
Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. theexperimentpublishing.com