One of my favorite blogs, The Happiness Project, recently posted about the theory of broken windows. Loosely, this theory tells us that if a neighborhood allows petty crimes like broken windows, graffiti, etc. to go unpunished, then more serious crimes are likely to be committed. These small signs of disinterest or lack of awareness show others that we aren’t being mindful. That we don’t care.
In the original post, the author translates this theory to the idea of our own personal broken windows – those small things that make us feel disorganized and out-of-control. Things like letting the mail pile up, not washing the dishes or staying in PJs all day…
If we look at this idea through the lens of yoga, can you see how the idea of conscious mindfulness comes into play? When we are feeling out of control, instead of letting these little windows break, can we take a breath, a pause, and make the bed before tackling the next project? One step at a time – even a step as small as throwing away the junk mail- shows our body, mind and spirit that we are home, that we care, and that we won’t check out when the going gets tough. These small steps can help us to stay present in both calm times and chaotic times.
This weekend as my husband and I frantically shopped for a new car (our old one died last week) that we weren’t planning on purchasing, I could feel the stress of the situation pulling me away from mindfulness. I left dirty clothes on the floor; I ate foods I normally try to avoid – all because we were “busy”. We “HAD” to buy a new car THIS WEEKEND. And, then I remembered the original blog post about Broken Windows. I took a breath. I meditated for 10 minutes. I threw the dirty clothes in the hamper. And, then we found a car to buy.