So today I had this experience that really got me thinking about how we can give ourselves time to grow in these rapidly-accelerated times.
I’m in a Starbucks and order one of their pots of tea, mainly for the free refill you get which will come in handy whilst I decided how to put my thoughts into context. (Jasmine Pearls if you’re interested. For the post-workout antioxidants if you’re still interested)
I find a seat, get my laptop out, put my headphones in and begin to pour.
What took place next was where I found the spark that could be the key to so many behaviours we demonstrate and experience in society today.
Normally, the tea pours quickly, filling the cup without any hassle, restriction or impedance to the task I want to focus on. However today it seemed to take forever for the cup to be filled. I’m talking 15-20 seconds.
Logically this was down to the tea bag blocking the spout and restricting the flow. But what were more insightful were my reactions to the experience. I initially felt mildly irked, frustrated by the fact a tea bag was slowing me from getting onto the thing I wanted to do.
Now, one observation I frequently have is how quickly society moves around itself these days.
From drivers leaping their cars out in front at a roundabout, through the way systems and technology have evolved to make processes more efficient, to our constant thirst for information about our friends and the world as real-time as possible, we are always pursuing our goals and objectives at a pace that fails to give us time to fully appreciate the experience we and others have as we interact with the world, and the impact of those actions.
Mindfulness, mediation and reflective practice are all proven methods that help us retain balance and presence, allowing space to increase our self-awareness to our impact on the world, stay ‘in the moment’ and allow our creative, innovative minds to learn from our experiences for our futures.
But with life to live, chores to complete, responsibilities to fulfill and objectives to deliver both professionally and personally, dedicating and committing ourselves to take time to reflect can be demoted down our to-do lists, which is a shame when that reflection can give us so much more inner, and subsequently outer, peace.
Take time to enjoy the pour
Remembering we are the ultimate beholders of how we choose to behave, you can use the time it takes for the tea to pour to reflect – upon who you are, around how you are engaging with your world and check whether your behaviour is in-line with the person you want to be.
The answers in that moment might seem familiar or they might seem surprising. Whatever your answers, it is that moment to just think about ourselves, to think about our behaviour and the consequences of that behaviour where we can gain the insight to consider the ‘how’ more than the ‘what’, for longer than you may currently do.
So, next time you make a cup of tea or coffee, take that moment to reflect and savour the opportunity for growth (and rehydration) that you have just given yourself.