Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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A Year of Mindfulness: Eliminate Filler Words

Each Monday during 2012 I am sharing a mindfulness practice based on Jan Chozen Bays’ book How to Train a Wild Elephant. You can read more about the book and mindfulness here.

Last week’s practice was Leave No Trace which essentially means to pick up after yourself before you leave a room. How did you do with this practice? My big challenge with this practice was cleaning up in the kitchen. I have a tendency, especially during the day, to let the dirty dishes collect in the sink.

With this practice I found myself not only cleaning the dishes instead of letting them sit in the sink, I also dried and put them away. It did feel pretty good to get everything cleaned up and out of the way instead of letting it linger. The one caveat to this practice: my studio. I may pick up a little bit, here and there, after I finish for the day. But cleaning up completely? Nope.

This week’s practice: Eliminate filler words. Oh boy, this could be a real challenge. Filler words, such as “um,” “you know,” “like,” etc permeate our conversations today. Some say it is because we’re afraid of silences in conversation, so instead of silence, we use a filler word. Some say it is because we’ve become lazy in our speaking skills. And others may say that these filler words “fill in the space” while we think of the word we’d really like to use.

Whatever the reason, filler words are an unconscious habit that can be difficult to change. That is the challenge this week. Eliminate filler words.

Reflection: I think you’re all enlightened until you open your mouths. Zen master Suzuki Roshi