One of the key concepts of Mindfulness is paying attention to what's going on around you, right now, at this very moment. Not five minutes ago, or five minutes from now.
A good question that people ask is simply 'Why?'. Why is it such a key concept?
The simple answer is because there is a story in almost every thing around you.
So many times we focus on what we perceive as the 'big' things. A vacation next summer. Christmas. A party this weekend.
The filler time we have between these big events is the grind that people go through to get from one 'big' event to the next one. The Grind, its often called. Work. School. Family commitments. Preparing meals. Exercising. Daily routines.
If, at the end of your life, you were able to look back at the amount of time you spent doing the 'big' events, versus the amount you spent in the Grind, you'd find the vast majority of it spent in the latter. Yet, most of your focus, energy and attention was on the former.
Mindfulness helps reorient what you really focus on. It brings your attention back to your moment by moment living, and not the eternal struggle going from event to event.
How can we accomplish this?
Meditate - its vitally important to practice how to be able to reorient yourself to pay attention to the moment, even though life is piling on you, or your mind will not stop hitting you with thoughts. Fifteen minutes a day, every day.
Slow Down - A by-product of our desire to go from event to event is to rush to get where we are going. Most of life is a journey, not a destination. Focus on the journeys in your everyday life. Change the route you drive to work. Appreciate food as its being prepared, not just when you are scarfing it down watching The Simpsons.
Stop Multitasking - Constantly looking at your smartphone for updates to kill time when you are in line? Put it away. Pay attention to the people around you, the conversations going on. Your smartphone will be there in a little while. The people won't. It's hard to meet new people and participate when you are checking Facebook for the twentieth time today.
Share Your Time - often we try to get through something as quickly as possible, in order to get to the next exciting thing. Instead, make a more mundane task enjoyable by sharing it with someone else. If you see your husband or wife folding clothes, fold with her. If someone is cooking, set the table with them. Engaging in conversation builds bonds. Use the time you have wisely.
Plan Some Alone Time - so much of the whirlwind of living in modern days revolves around having too many things scheduled, and not enough time. Add quiet time to your daily routine, and when you do find yourself having some, actually take the time to appreciate it.
Consider the above just your starting points. There is so much more that mindfulness can bring to your life, but we all need somewhere to start.
The story of your life, in the end, will be the culmination of all the time you spent, not just the big, memorable events. Make every day a day that you experience a story, whether its big or small, personal or world changing.