Summer for many people is a great time to become more mindful. Waking up to the changing colors, sounds, smells and touches of summer brings feelings of pleasure and delight into my daily life. We tend to associate Mindfulness with practices such as meditation which do indeed help cultivate and deepen these skills. But there are many other simple ways to bring more mindfulness into your daily life.
One opportunity to bring mindfulness into daily life is to focus on one of the senses. As you walk outside to your car, to the Metro or to run errands, concentrate some of your attention on that sense: the smells, the sounds, the colors, or the air on your skin. Or when you go on a walk for exercise or pleasure, focus on the sensations at the bottom of each foot as it touches the ground. Track each step with mindful awareness and notice when your mind is pulled away into planning, remembering, or judging and invite your attention back to each step. Experience these sensations as deeply as you can.
Thich Nhat Hahn http://www.buddhismtoday.com/english/meditation/Zen/005-drivingmeditation.htm suggests that as we drive, each red light is a reminder to wake up and come back into the present moment. As we look at the light we can use it as an invitation to breathe and smile. Or perhaps look out the window at the pleasures of summer.
When I wake up to the simple moments of potential pleasure in each day, I feel calmer, more centered, and more fulfilled.