Mindful Mondays – Week 44 – 3 Key Building Blocks For Life

Building blocks for life are those key pieces of information often passed down from generation to generation. You know the ones. They keep you safe. They keep you grounded. And they add joy to our lives in the simplest of ways.

Most of us look both ways before we cross the street. What is likely the presence of a habit now, was once a rule, a building block, that our parents instilled in us as they guided us through our formative years. Life moves at a fast rate and some days we are just barely hanging on through it. So, let’s simplify things and focus on 3 key building blocks we can use to keep us on the straight and narrow of a mindful existence.

Building Block #1

Get back to basics in at least one way every week. For me, this means stepping away from my computer and putting pen to paper for some free writing or character sketching. The act of handwriting is not only a skill that can be easily lost, but also one that forces the mind to work in different ways, often resulting in new ideas.

Want to give this a try? My most favorite pen to write with is the Monami FX Zeta. I must confess, I am quite likely addicted to this pen. I use a smattering of notebooks from spiral bound to old school leather replicas. In reality any pad of paper will do the trick, but if you love stationary like I do, go ahead and splurge on a new notebook, just for the joy of it.

Your turn: Think about what you do on a daily basis that can be transformed into an old, “new” way on occasion. Perhaps you could hand wash the dishes instead of piling them all into the dishwasher every night. Or, maybe you could walk to the grocery store instead of taking the car.

If you are an avid TV watcher, this week pick an evening and ban the TV. Instead, listen to a radio program or a podcast, or read a book. Wink, wink, shameless plug ahead….¬†You could always pick up Becoming Mrs. Smith, I promise it is a quick read at only 110 pages.

3 Key Building Blocks For Life

Building Block #2

It has been said that nutrition is the building block that life is built on. With spring just around the corner, seasonal fresh produce is beginning to show up in the grocery store. It is most definitely easier to eat salads in the summer than in the cold months of winter. Logic tells me people who lived centuries ago ate what was available when it was in season. There were no “Californian strawberries” in the middle of February in northern climates. Those people ate what was in their own region. At least this is what I tell myself while I avoid eating leafy greens on chilly days.

For the record, I tried raw turnip for the first time last week. It was the white variety with the purple top. It was simply peeled and sliced and can be eaten with any of your favorite dips or toppings. Though it is not my favorite, I didn’t hate it, so I am certain it will be showing up in our grocery cart again in the near future.

Your turn: It is time to find a fruit or a vegetable that you have never tried before and give it a whirl. With so many cooking resources online, a quick google search will have you preparing something new in no time. Didn’t your parents always make you at least taste a new dish before you could refuse to eat it entirely? So go ahead and try that swiss chard in your smoothie or add a little sauteed spinach to your plate before you top it with a poached egg. New habits take time, but are completely worth the effort.

Building Block #3

Humans were meant to move. Our bodies thrive on weight bearing activities that assist in keeping our bones strong and our muscles supple. We were hunters and gatherers. Roaming the wilderness used to be how we spent our days. The invention of the wheel eventually changed all of that, although I must say not immediately. Even with the wheel, for decades, humans let the wheel(s) carry the weight of whatever it was that needed transporting and they continued to walk along with it.

In today’s world, the automobile rules our actions. We tend to live further from places we visit everyday. Whether it be for work, school, or something else, a vehicle of some sort often gets us there. So, it’s time to move our bodies (come on, you knew that was coming, didn’t you?)

Your turn: Trust me on this. With daylight savings now behind us, I am confident that each of us can find a twenty minute block of time either in the morning or evening to go for a walk. Venture outside your front door and explore the neighborhood. Walk to the local coffee shop. Visit the woods. A lake, river, or ocean is not only good for the soul but also effective at motivating us to get out the door to visit it.

Let’s put on our walking shoes and see what is going on in our own communities. You will see, hear, smell, and experience things on a walk that are so easily overlooked from the seat of your car. As an added bonus, you are likely to encounter other people walking, many of them with their canine companions. In my opinion, if every walk included a visit with a dog, the world would almost be perfect.

Spring is like a new beginning. A time to reaffirm our plans, goals, and joys of life. If you start with a few building blocks, I am certain that you will find joy in places you haven’t seen in awhile.


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