While in Baja, an early morning session on the platform looking out at the sea revealed that something I do is mindfulness. I knew that it was and is a significant piece of my routine in the mornings, but I never had labeled it as mindfulness in my mind. When I told my small group, consisting of myself and two handsome men I grew to know and care about ( Hi John. Hi Guy), they voluntold me to tell the larger group. (I smacked John when he did this)
Here is what I do: I write a note every morning to someone I am thinking of, that I care about, that I need to apologize to, or that I just plain want to. Sometimes it is a thank you note for something they have done for me, a gift given to me, or an invitation issued. Sometimes it is an update on my life to someone I have not spoken with in a while, and sometimes it is just a quick, "hey I am thinking about you and wondering how you are" if my spidey sense goes off somehow. This last usually prompts a phone call and I discover the source of the spidey trigger.
After the note is written, if it is cold, I put on my shoes and socks to go outside (otherwise, I don't wear them. More on that later). If it is not cold, I thrust my toes into flip-flops or Vans, and head out. I walk slowly, noticing all the new flowers, and how many lemons are on my neighbors' trees, or wishing I lived in a small tiny just perfect for me and my life partner (if I had one) house. I do the same thing on the way back, either taking a different route or walking on the other side of the street.
All in all, it takes maybe 20 minutes to half an hour. But it gets my mind off of me (mostly) and lets me think about someone else for a bit.
I used to wait until there was a pile on the table by the door, and go once a week, but now it is every day, sometimes I wait a day if it is pouring outside, a thing that has happened recently here in the Silicon Valley (more on THAT later too).
After the session was over, a few of the folks stopped me and said how lovely that was (which embarrassed me, because I selfishly also get something out of it) or that they don't HAVE 365 friends to mail something to. Well, I don't either. I have about 120 people on my Christmas card list, and some of them are friends of my mother's. But I still try to include them in my daily list. So if you break that down, if I sent one letter to everyone on my list and then started over, it is about three times a year that someone gets something from me.
Thinking about this from the other person's point of view, this is a good ratio. It is enough that I get to selfishly keep doing what I am doing, but long enough in between to not have the recipient feel guilty about not writing back or sending ME something (because that is not the point). Although, I wouldn't be mad about it if they did. Because let's face it, we all love getting mail. I don't know a single person who doesn't, and I have yet to have someone tell me not to write to them and that they hate hearing from me.
Maybe it isn't true mindfulness (whatever that means) but it is mindful of what is going on around me. And that is the best twofer I can think of.
The ratio isn't perfect, and I do send things to people who I think about more, and that is okay. They deserve more because we are in each other's lives more consistently, and this is what happens when that occurs. You should tell the people that are in your life that they matter and that you care and oh hey by the way, here is a little something that made me think of you...
So, do that. Do it however you want to. My way is little notes scattered on the eternity of thought, sent through the US Mail.