Welcome to my friends at My Home Vitality.
Today my blog is on something remarkably simple: ‘mundane mindfulness.’
It is relatively easy to practice mindfulness in a special dojo or at a dedicated class, but the real trick is to practice it in everyday life.
Today I’m going to talk about the mindfulness of shaving!
For the last 45 years I have generally used an electric shaver and have been very unsatisfied with the results.
It was noisy, and I used to rush around in the morning, scrubbing at my face, feeling that it was a chore to complete as quickly as possible.
However, at Christmas I decided to go back to the ‘wet’ shaving of my youth.
Firstly, I tried using the modern multi-blade disposable razors but then decided this was ecologically unsustainable.
I did some research and ended up purchasing an old-fashioned safety razor, (the ones that use a replaceable double-sided blade).
My mindfulness shaving routine
Firstly, I douse my chin with hot water.
Next, I carefully rub the shaving stick into my bristles, making sure every part is covered.
Taking the makeup brush I carefully work all that foam into a nice, even lather.
Now I begin shaving, in complete silence, putting my whole attention on each stroke of the blade.
With an old-fashioned razor, the strokes are quite small and delicate, and I work to a rhythm.
Two or three strokes of the blade, then swill the razor and reverse it to use the blade on the opposite side.
I purchased a good quality one, with a longish handle and a good weight. This is important, as when shaving with these old-fashioned razors, you need to allow the weight of the razor to do the cutting.
If you try to push the razor you will soon end up with less face than you started with!
I used one of my wife’s old make-up brushes to create a good lather and, at first, just used ordinary household soap before later investing in a proper shaving stick.
Now, shaving in the morning is a delight and sets me up for the day!
If you use a razor like this, you must be completely focused.
I cut myself all the time at first. It was quite a few days of perseverance before I managed to have a complete shave without at least one nick.
In time, I learned to give each movement my full attention.
I learned to be patient and not to rush.
I learned to let the razor to do the work.
I took care to stretch the skin carefully.
I learned to follow the grain of my beard, not work against it.
If I forget any of the above, I am rewarded with a cut face. The razor is a stern teacher!
By the time I finish this ritual, my mind is calm and clear, my attention is focused and I am ready for the rest of my day.
Another simple morning mindfulness practice
I have also started to practise mindfulness when cleaning my teeth.
Here I use an electric toothbrush for I believe they are more efficient.
Again, I patiently allow the brush to work each tooth for 4 seconds before moving to the next one.
If I become impatient and tempted to rush, I focus on breathing carefully in the belly, learning to relax and focusing on the count again.
This is another simple, regular way I practice mindfulness at the beginning of my day.
The moral of the story
As you have probably gathered, this little blog isn’t really about shaving or about cleaning your teeth.
It’s about how we can incorporate everyday tasks into our mindfulness practice.
To return to the Old Zen saying:
“Before enlightenment, fetch water and cut wood. After enlightenment, fetch water and cut wood.”
Take care, stay safe and hope to speak to you again soon.