How mindfulness is ruining some of Switzerland’s most beautiful homes
The word ‘Mindfulness’ has been appearing in the press and social media increasingly in the last few years, even more so since it headlined the cover of Time magazine in February 2014. It’s the buzz word at the moment, which has ruffled some feathers for those who have been practicing ‘mindfulness’ for years. I put the word in quote marks, because to those who have been practicing it for longer know it as Zen Buddhist Meditation, and I don’t want them to get arsy replying or commenting on my post! BUT try selling Zen Buddhism to the West in the 80’s or even today. It doesn’t market as well as the word ‘Mindfulness’.
Regardless, the most important thing is that the benefits of this practice is spreading, whatever you chose to call it.
Thanks to the extensive medical and scientific research, especially in neurosciences, by the likes of Jon Kabat-Zinn, David Williams, Dan Siegel, John Teasdale etc, the benefits of mindfulness are now tangible to the Western mindset.
Over to Switzerland, zoom in on Geneva and Vaud, and you’ll see something bizarre beginning to happen in the world of interior decorating. Upon entering people’s homes and walking around you will see curious little round stickers stuck in seemingly random places and this home decorating craze seems to be spreading! More homes you go to you’re noticing these random stickers and you’ve even noticed them in people’s cars and on their boats! The scariest thing is that the kids seem
to be in on it too! You see stickers in their bedrooms, playrooms as well as the bathroom mirror, above door ways and on the toaster?!
Watch out! This is what they look like:
The Secret Behind The Little Round Stickers
OK I’ll admit it’s my fault that these pristine, immaculately decorated homes, now have a weird added feature. I apologise if visitors are offended or confused. But to be honest, just that small moment you take to stop and look, is kind of what we’re trying to achieve. You see the truth is they’re Mindfulness Reminders. Every time you see one it reminds you to take 1 long deep breath and just be present in that moment. (Ideally take a lot more long deep breaths during the day, but the sticker is just a reminder!).
It’s been VERY hard to get my clients and the local community into mindfulness or meditation! Everyone reads, hears and knows that the benefits are physiologically and psychologically HUGE, but they still don’t do it. It is hard enough getting people to commit to 3 minutes of breathing meditation a day, let alone a 45 minutes body scan! My clients are good people with strong intentions to apply themselves to various mindfulness exercises. But the reality is that people still find it hard to commit to being still and meditating. A few find the stillness opens up negative memories or emotions, but most simply can’t find the time. Having been introduced to Zen Buddhist meditation at 14 years old, and quickly falling in love with it’s practice, it comes naturally to me and I enjoy it. Of course it’s difficult to hear people say they don’t have the time, when I know, and they know, that EVERYONE can at least give themselves 3 minutes a day to be present and connect with themselves. And if you don’t have 3 minutes then you have major problems!
So finally I started devising a few easy and quick mindfulness exercises my clients and their families could do
individually or together. I figure it’s better they do a little than none at all. Also I’m here to serve my clients and students and not be dogmatic or inflexible, so I’m working with what I’ve got! Hence the little round stickers, which are the cheapest, easiest and quickest way of doing a spot meditation. One long deep breath in and out usually takes about 8 seconds. So it’s just 8 seconds out of your life a few times a day whenever you see the sticker. This starts to become a habit, and begins to feel more natural over time, as the brain short links it as a physical and mental process. Eventually people take more conscious long deep breaths during the day, and then the notion of sitting for just 3 minutes to breath in stillness, doesn’t seem like such a bitch!
I’ll write more about Mindfulness again and tips for getting the whole family involved soon. If you’re in the area, check out my