Mindfulness: The Sparkly Gold Pen

I lose things.

Four of us live in a small space. You’d think it would be easier to keep track of things in a small space, but I haven’t found that to be the case. Plus we have a two-year-old who likes to move stuff and obviously doesn’t remember where she puts things. Just last week we had a USB memory stick in the computer’s USB drive. Somehow, without seeing her, our stealth toddler swept in, removed the memory stick and stashed it somewhere that may have made sense to her at the time.

 We haven’t seen it since.

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Anyway, I have this lovely sparkly gold pen. I have a thing for sparkle. I know it’s cheesy, but sparkly things make me smile.

I received this pen as a gift. I have lost it so many times. Thankfully I’ve always seemed to find it, often in odd spaces—under the seat of the car, between the cushions, tucked away in a tall vase (guess who put it there?).

I’m going to digress for a second, and then I’ll get back to the pen.

Mindfulness is a topic that gets thrown around all the time. People often tie the idea of mindfulness to meditation. While they certainly go hand in hand, they are not one in the same.

Dr. Ellen Langer, who is known as the “mother of mindfulness” defines the term as “the simple act of actively noticing things.”

As human beings it’s very easy to live life on autopilot. We go about daily life without taking notice of our surroundings, of how our body feels, of the people around us.

I certainly am not immune to this kind of passivity. There is so much research available now about the connection between mindfulness and happiness/health. I am trying hard to be intentional about actively noticing things.

Actively noticing things.

Actively. Hmmm…

Back to the pen.

The last time I lost my beloved pen, I realized that I was not being mindful about what I did with it after I took it out of my purse. This pen that I so dearly loved, lost my attention as soon as a task, a child, or the phone distracted me. Hours later I would realize that I didn’t put my pen back in it’s little place in my purse. Darn.

I am committed to the idea of mindfulness. I really am, but this pen thing was kicking my mindful butt. So recently I decided to start to take active notice of the pen—where I put it, whom I lend it too. It has now become a mindfulness exercise for me—a simple, tangible way to be mindful about something very specific.

I have been able to keep track of it much better since I started looking at it this way. Having said that, I’ve still misplaced it a couple times. As I write this I’m noticing the pen sitting on the table a foot away from my active toddler. It’s time to put it back in its place. Ah…mindfulness.

Have you thought about this topic? What are some mindfulness exercises like this that you have experienced?

I’d love to hear about them in the comments.