It is Sunday morning. You are sitting on your balcony. You embrace the sunshine on your skin. It feels different this morning. The aroma of your golden oat milk rises to tickle the senses of your nose. You take a sip. You feel the warm milk and taste the cinnamon; it tastes extra strong today. You embrace the taste and how the milk makes you feel. You feel calm. You are in the present moment, in the right now.
For Bini, mindful morning situations have become part of her daily routine. Bini Jammeh is a 23-year-old second-year IBCoM student, who has been practising mindfulness for over two years now. I have had the pleasure to chat with her about mindfulness; her experiences and what it means to her.
Q: What is mindfulness for you?
Bini: Mindfulness is embracing the moment and being in the present, embracing the right now. Not thinking about the past or worrying about the future.
Q: Why did you start to become more mindful?
Bini: My interest developed in stressful times and I had friends who were talking about the possibility to just ‘be’ and embrace the moment. Most of the time we are just doing things without even noticing what we are doing, like an automatic process. I wanted to figure out what it actually means to just ‘be’.
Q: How do you practice mindfulness?
Bini: It can be different every time. Some days I meditate, on other days I journal, or do yoga. For me, all these things can be done mindfully. It really depends because I don’t force myself to do anything. I just want to practice depending on how I feel like. Generally, I like to meditate in the mornings, first things first and before I do anything else. I wake up, I brush my teeth and then I meditate. I just feel so much better and ready to start the day after my meditation.
Q: So, mindfulness became your daily routine?
Bini: Yes but it is more like having a routine without having a particular routine. It sounds complicated, but simply put; every practice is just the way it is, without having to reach a particular goal. During my practice, I try to be in the moment. I cannot plan what will happen, but I can include being mindful as part of my daily life. Also, I have taken a mindfulness class which has taught me to be mindful of little things, during daily activities. For instance eating mindfully, drinking your coffee mindfully, or even brushing your teeth mindfully. I know it sounds weird, but trust me it works, and it is so simple to implement.
Q: But how?
Bini: Let’s imagine your breakfast bowl. You observe every fruit before you actually eat it. You smell it, you touch it and then you observe how it tastes, how it feels in your mouth and on your tongue. You will realize, that because you observed it so mindfully that your taste will be a lot stronger. I love to practice this with my personal mindfulness drink; golden milk. Just stop for a second, be in the moment and try to embrace what you feel at that moment.
Q: Finally, do you have some inspirations or tips for someone who is interested in starting a more mindful lifestyle?
Bini: Personally, I have started to go through random YouTube videos and Ted-talks just to get a broader idea of what mindfulness actually is. I think guided meditation is a good start. I have used apps like Headspace and l can definitely recommend listening to podcasts, such as “on purpose” by Jay Shetty. I have also read some books, which I found very inspiring; “Wherever you Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn and “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. Sabrina’s mindfulness class here in Rotterdam has also broadened my perspective on the subject and I recommend it to everyone who is interested.