Apparently now that the 4th of July has passed, it’s “back to school.” Perhaps one of the reasons we feel like we are never living in the present moment is because the commercialized world makes a habit of having us live 2-3 months in the future. When I worked at CVS in high school, the Christmas aisle had been transformed into a Valentine’s Day aisle on the morning of December 26th.
What does it mean to master mindfulness? The word seems to be in the air lately. Mindfulness just means attention to the present—paying mind to what is happening to you as it’s happening as a way of staying grounded. Contrary to what one might think, contemplating future events is not going to break a rhythm of mindfulness. Rather, having a point in the future to look forward to actually works in concert with savoring the present, like ying and yang.
Mindfulness can be exhausting if done improperly. For example, when I first started fumbling around with mindfulness, I seemed to be focusing on the wrong things—menial tasks. I would be unloading the dishwasher and thinking I’m unloading the dishwasher now. I am putting the cups away and the plates. Now I am putting the silverware in the silverware drawer. Narrating every mundane chore around the house isn’t going to bring you nirvana. Rather, mindfulness is more a perspective. Okay, I have some chores to do around the house now, but after that’s done I am going to give my sister a call and see how she’s doing with X. It’s taking a pause and reflecting: I seem to be getting my writing going this morning. It’s stepping back from yourself so you can look at yourself from afar. I feel guilty that I spoke negatively about that issue to a friend yesterday. I forgive myself and am moving on from it. Next time I see said friend, I am going to be mindful of those negative impulses creeping in and stop them before they can do damage.
I am still learning the nuances of mindfulness. It doesn’t come naturally to me, so it’s something I have to work on. The owls, on the other hand, seem to have it down pat.
Sand & soil,