In my last blog, I wrote about mindfulness as a way I intentionally sew the fabric of my own life. I find that by purposely bringing present moment awareness to the events, emotions, activities, and relationships that are already happening in my life, I enjoy texture, vitality, and engagement with my ordinary, even repetitive day to day living. I notice, feel, and sometimes even appreciate the tightness of my body after just waking from sleep each morning, changing morning light, the ache behind my eyes pulling me back to sleep EVERY morning, the steps leading up to the coveted cup of coffee, the crisp sound and feel of the keyboard as I sign on the computer to start a work day. And all of this appreciation within the safety and comfort of my own home most mornings! Common. Ordinary, Mundane. Lovely.
And then there are the ordinary experiences that I would rather not feel at all. The angry restlessness after being given a meaningless answer and put on hold for the fifth time, the burn of anxiety in my belly, shame after saying something mundane, sadness at a missed opportunity. Somehow it helps, when I can remember that this too is ordinary, mundane, a part of being alive that most everyone I know can relate to, even if nobody is talking about it. Something to be tolerated, worked with, and accepted. And of course, we all encounter the more persistent, and pungent realities within ourselves and, most often, others; the depths of depression, horror in the face of violence or greed, helplessness at the clarity of unstoppable pain and illness, grief with a loss that comes too soon. All common, even abundant in the world, perhaps more or less so at any particular point in each of our lives. Mindfulness helps me with all of this too. It offers me a tool, something to count on, something to lean into when I can’t quite count on anything else. It gives me an alternative to the wash of numbness and disconnection that I can fall into so easily. The mindfulness tool is not always clean and comfortable for me to use, sometimes it’s downright awkward. It does get me through tough minutes, moments, hours, and days, and eventually I find myself appreciating a morning stretch and a cup of coffee again.