mindfulness, one button at a time
Mindfulness and Buttons!
I've had a difficult time meditating because that's just where I am right now. Any longer than a 10-minute meditation and I'm out of the game. There's a lot going on and my excitement about everything makes it difficult to want to come back to my meditation. So, I've looked for other ways to get my daily mindfulness fix.
This is where buttons (like, the buttons you put on a shirt, not the buttons on an elevator) come into play. All you need is a jar of random buttons. I got a shit ton of them for like $5 on clearance at the craft store. Most craft stores sell just big bags of random buttons.
Get a bunch of buttons and put them in a jar
I got about 100 buttons and I put them all in this jar, which looks cool on my desk when I'm not using it.
Pour all of the buttons out to make a big mountain of buttons
Set a timer
If you have an extra 10, or 20, or even 30 minutes, set a timer and put your phone on silent. You can do this every day, twice a day, or just when you're feeling particularly anxious.
Organize the buttons into any categories you want. You can organize them according to color, shape, size, number of holes, whatever. I tend to go about this with the slowness of putting together a puzzle. I take my time and I always see buttons I haven't seen yet. Some of them are really cool.
Today, I organized the buttons according to color. After 15 minutes, the timer went off. I had not gotten through all of the buttons. That isn't the point. You don't have to organize every button, so don't worry if you run out of time.
As you play with these buttons, you might find your thoughts wandering off. That's okay. I've found this activity to be a helpful alternative to meditation because I can't help but come back to the moment if I am looking for a specific button type. I'll find myself thinking about all of the shit I need to do later, but I am brought back to the moment when I can't decide if a button is green or blue.
Notice the wide variety of colors and shapes. As you reach for each button, hold it and look at it before you put it down. Feel the edges and notice how this button weight differs from the last one.
This focus on exactly what is in front of you will give you a break from the endless thought-loops of anxiety or weirdness you might face throughout your day. Taking at least ten minutes to do this will give you a nice moment of calm.
Check it out!
When that timer goes off, take a pause. Look at the cool assortment of buttons you've arranged. Use the clean up time as a transition back into your day.
To clean up, you can scoop the buttons onto a piece of paper and use it to pour them back into the jar.