My favourite trip at work is the little walk from my office to the kitchen when I survey all the teas we have in the cupboard (there are a bunch of tea lovers in the office, each one brings his or her favourite to share), and then brew the tea. In the kitchen, we have a cool little water system where you can select cold water, water at room temperature, or hot water. There are 3 buttons: the red hot water, the blue cold water, and the green room temperature water buttons. The trick of getting the hot water is to press the red button until it blinks, and then you press the blue button in the middle for the hot water.
Last week, this happened to me twice. I wanted to brew a cup of hot tea, pressed the red button first, and then the blue button. I brought my mug back to my office, and then I zipped the tea – yew, cold tea! What happened? I did not press the red button long enough to let it blink, and then I just pressed the blue button. What was I thinking? Obviously I was not thinking about making tea; my mind wandered somewhere, thinking of the next task that I have to do. In other words, I was completely not in the present.
So, I discovered an unexpected place to practice mindfulness: the water system in my office kitchen! Now, when I want to get some hot water, all I do is to think about getting my hot water properly, and to make a nice cup of tea, and think about nothing else.
This may seem far-fetched: would you drive down the famous Crooked Street (Lombard Street) in San Francisco with a wandering mind? No, you keep your focus in the near front, swerve and turn at the exact time to avoid any problems. So when I make my tea, I also think of the Crooked Street!