Summer has arrived and life is more spacious. Nothing urgent demands my attention. I can finally get to the mundane jobs that I’ve been putting off for a while. However, cleaning cupboards and straightening drawers are not as appealing as writing, offering spiritual direction or riding my bike.
Fred sprained his ankle, so I’ve been doing the driving–one of my least favourite activities. Behind the wheel, stopped at a light, I think about how boring this is. But my recent reading about mindfulness reassures me that this moment is not better or worse than any other. The choice before me is whether I will be awake to this moment and receive it as it is without judging its value. Will I wake up to the richness and depth of what I am experiencing right now?
On a walk that morning, Hadrian, our grandson, talks about Minecraft; Hannah, his cousin, is beside herself because Season 3 of Riverdale has ended on a cliffhanger. I know nothing about either topic. I want to change the subject and talk about something more meaningful to me. And yet, there is a judgment, a rejection of this moment as it is.
They walk faster than I do and take their conversation with them. I look at the trees, the sky and clouds. My knee hurts. The pain is likely exacerbated by my extra weight. I notice how easily my thoughts leave this sidewalk, these trees, this body and go somewhere else. I’m figuring out how to make future moments better.
I notice that I’m not present and choose to return to the earth under my feet, my grandchildren laughing, my life in this moment.
In this moment, I am grateful that I notice my judgment, the pull to be elsewhere, and my desire to be present.
Mindfulness means moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness.
It is cultivated by refining our capacity to pay attention,
intentionally, in the present moment,
and then sustaining that attention over time as best we can.
In the process, we become more in touch with our life
as it is unfolding.
— Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn
∗ ∗ ∗
“Take a book. Leave a book.”
Little free libraries are popping up in neighbourhoods all over the place. My daughter has one for children’s books outside their house. Hadrian gets to meet the neighbours, pet their dogs, and see if anyone’s left a book about Minecraft.