Thursday, February 18, 2016

Mindfulness. Not. Thursday's Reflection

Two stories.
1. Sunday morning, Valentine's Day, I head to the lower level to take a shower. I would have preferred to sleep in late this morning, but I am one of the presenters at adult forum between services at church, and we will go to the early service first. I have prepared my brief talk, a quick three minute one, and am not nervous, but nonetheless that is on my mind. I walk through the kitchen and down the stairs. I take my shower and dress and walking through the kitchen again, I return to the first floor bathroom where I put on my make-up. 

Great--I have time for a bowl of cereal before we need to leave for church. It is then, only then, I notice something new in the kitchen, the teeny, tiny kitchen I have walked through twice already this morning. On the window sill over the sink are four small red pots filled with fluffy, fresh herbs. A Valentine's Day present from my forever Valentine. How could I have missed them?

2. Monday afternoon I get in the car to drive to a friend's apartment. We will meet to plan a talk on mindfulness we have been asked to give at church. Yes, mindfulness. As I drive the familiar Mississippi River Boulevard, cross the river on the Ford Parkway Bridge into Minneapolis and then turn towards Minnehaha Falls Park and the route I take when I drive to my father's apartment in Edina, I think about how much I love that drive. And about the intentional decision I made quite sometime ago to choose that route, although longer, rather than taking the freeway. The changing river, little traffic, beautiful old homes, trees and green space now covered in winter white. A mindful decision, until I realize my destination this afternoon is not my father's apartment, but Ruth's apartment. I needed to take a left in the park, instead of a right. 

I laugh at myself and resolve once again to "begin again," as I think St Benedict said. I wasn't mindful. I wasn't present to the present moment, but I have yet another chance to begin again and to practice awareness. To wake up and be mindful. 

Mindfulness is not mysterious or magical nor is it something one accomplishes and can check off one's life or bucket list. Every moment is another chance to practice.

In a way when we stir ourselves awake from a mindless moment, we are offered a gift. Now every time I walk into our kitchen, I smile at the cheery green herbs in their red pots and think about the considerate. loving nature of my Valentine. And the next time I drive the familiar route I suspect I will pay more attention to where I am going and what I am seeing. A good thing. 

An Invitation
What has jolted you into a mindful moment recently? When have you realized you weren't mindful? I would love to know. 

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