Mindfulness in the Ordinary


I had a dream the other night that a small boy took me by the hand to the side of a river. There he sat, motioning for me to join him on a small concrete slab just a bit larger than the space of the two of us sitting. He sat near the edge where it sloped toward the river.

He picked up the wet cloth he was holding, laid it on the concrete then folded it over multiple times. He placed his hands on the cloth and gently leaned into it until his full body weight gently squeezed the liquid from the cloth. I watched the water flow across the concrete toward the river. He paused, turned the cloth and repeated the motion.

I realized I squeeze a wet cloth dry by picking it up with both hands, holding it over a sink, and with a wringing motion fully engage my hands and forearms squeezing repeatedly until the cloth no longer drips water.

He seemed totally absorbed in the rhythmic motion of leaning in, pausing to turn the cloth, leaning in again. His arms and hands sank into the wet cloth, met the resistance of the concrete, and caused water to gradually flow across the stone toward the river. I mimicked the motions in my dream and wondered if this way took the same amount of time as my more vigorous actions.

His movements were mesmerizing. The dream stayed with me throughout the day, so I thought I would try this in a modified way by putting a wet cloth up along the edge of the sink basin. I set my timer for one minute. Gently leaning forward I pressed into the folded cloth with both hands, feeling the texture of the fabric, watching the water move toward the drain. I turned the cloth, repeating the motions until my timer buzzed.

I soaked the cloth again, set the timer for another minute. I picked up the same wet cloth in both hands, fully engaging my forearms and hands with my usual wringing motion. I refolded the cloth and repeated this motion until my timer buzzed.

Two approaches to the same task. Same end result. Different levels of tension in my body. I remain fascinated by this experience.

Mentastics Minute
Choose an ordinary task that takes at least one minute to complete
Set your timer for one minute

  • Begin/complete the task as you normally do and notice:
    • Where in your body you feel tension
    • What parts of your body you are using for this task
    • What parts of your body support you
    • How your body feels when the timer buzzes
    • Any thoughts that went through your mind during the minute
  • If the task can immediately be done again, do it again. If not, repeat this part the next time you find yourself ready to perform this task. This time:
    • Pause for a few seconds to consider how else to use your body to complete this task
    • Try that and notice how it feels, where the tension is
    • What parts of your body support you?
    • Notice how your body feels when the timer buzzes
    • Were there any thoughts going through your mind?
  • Write something about what you experienced or tell someone about it.


  1. Thank you, Anna Marie, for this beautifully simple and profound reminder to continually explore
    “what could be easier”
    I enjoyed reading your eloquent description and performing this experiment on my own!


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