Work is Love in Action
flickr photo shared by Daniel E Lee under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-ND ) license
Bringing the sentiment of ‘Work is Love in Action’ into your life, is about cultivating a sense of mindfulness and presence into the everyday activities and actions of your life. It can have the positive impact of turning what would normally be seen as boring, time wasting or negative activities into joyful and pleasant - or at the very least - meaningful and worthwhile moments of your day.
Whilst the most common activities associated with the words mindfulness and presence involve spending time sitting in silence or doing yoga etc., it can actually be a lot simpler than that. Work is Love in Action is less about the activity itself, and more about bringing your focus inwards, so that the activity fills your awareness.
For example, let's look at an activity we all do every day - doing the dishes. Doing the dishes can very often be a task completed in a rush; just before you run out the door or as your house guests are arriving. Sometimes the only time you can find the time to do this might be late at night when you just want to be in bed already. It’s a task that when not done properly needs to be done again and can end up being a very annoying and possibly even stressful way to spend time. In the following exercise, we will choose a seemingly mundane activity and bring awareness to it. By specifically picking a time to do it, allowing and enjoying your focus being solely for instance on the dishes and being present all the way through till done, not only will you be saving time in the long run but you will find it a much more pleasant and possibly even an enjoyable experience!
Individual / Experiential activity
5-60 minutes every day for 7 days
To increase motivation for certain tasks
To develop higher level of productivity
To enjoy routines and make the environment around better with your actions
Required Materials and Tools:
Notebook, Pen, Task-Specific Items
Decide as early as possible in the day what task will be used to practice with and note this down in the notebook (e.g. “Today I will practice while doing the evening washing up”).
Create the appropriate space needed for the task (e.g. Inform anyone around that you need some space for the required time, turn technology into Airplane mode, turn TV/music off).
Immediately before starting the task, note down what needs to be accomplished for the task to be completed, any specific feelings or expectations that are being felt and an estimation of how long the task should take (e.g. “I really don’t feel like doing the washing up right now, I would much prefer to watch TV... I imagine this will take 20 minutes and I will feel very bored after 5 minutes. I’m not looking forward to doing this..”).
Next, what has been written down should be read aloud, as an affirmation to what will be done. Leave out any negative comments (e.g. “I am now starting to do the dishes, I need to do all the dishes in the waiting area and rinse them properly before putting them in the drying rack, I expect it to take 20 minutes”).
Throughout the task pay attention to the breakdown of each part of the task, focusing on each bit individually, registering the change that is happening before you. (e.g. Watch as the food is wiped off of the plate by the sponge, enjoy the satisfaction of being the integral part of the plate becoming clean again).
To complete the task, affirm the ending out loud (e.g. “I have now finished doing all of the dishes”).
Now return to the notebook, note down how much time was actually spent on the task and anything you missed/extra stuff you did. Also reflect on how your expectations turned out, was it more enjoyable than expected? Harder? Note down any prominent thoughts or ideas that came to you while the task was being worked on, how do you feel now? How was it different than usually? (e.g. “Washing up actually took 25 minutes, however this was mainly due to me drying all the dishes and clearing the draining board on top of washing them. I did get bored after 5 minutes as I missed having my music on, however this faded very quickly and I think I may actually have enjoyed it even more in the end! I also remember mum’s birthday tomorrow, just in time.. I have written a note to remember to ring her in the morning, I’m feeling very satisfied.”)
Experiment with doing a different task on some days and then repeating the harder/easier ones on others. Which activity/activities did you choose?
What kind of changes did you experience in relation to doing these activities?
Instructions for Submission
Submit a short summary and reflection of the week, noting in what activities you saw the highest change in how you now related to them. Reflect on which ones you found the hardest and easiest and your view on why this is the case. Instructions on how to submit things in Moodle can be found here: Instructions on Submission&Uploading
Instructions for Assessment
Provide feedback to at least one participant that has done this activity. Instructions on providing feedback can be found here: Instructions on Feedback
Daily Personal Practice
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