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A lesson in mindfulness

April 5, 2011

Once upon a time I visited a single friend for a few days near a big city. And we didn’t make any plans and we didn’t do any touristy things. She and I worked a few hours a day on a project, and we spent the rest of the time doing nothing much.

Until those slow days, I didn’t realize how much my “to do” list rattles around in my head all the time when I’m at home and even when I’m away. During this visit, I think I learned something about mindfulness, about just being.

Folk singer on the light rail

One day I sat outside in the shade and slowly read part of a long, long book (Katherine Graham’s autobiography)… without feeling guilty and without jumping up to deal with laundry or food or people or the phone or email… and without jumping to the book’s ending so I could get on with my chores.
I also:
* made lots of smoothies… using organic milk and organic yogurt and frozen mangoes and pineapple and fresh fruit… and drank them slowly, savoring the taste.
* learned to cook with fresh mushrooms. (How come I never did this before?)
* took long walks and took pictures of flowers and interesting houses.
* sat beside a big body of water, watching the water and watching the people.
* slept on a feather pillow. And my neck liked it so much that I decided to buy one when I got home.
* wrote essays on the back of envelopes.
* rode a big city light rail at night to and from the big city airport, people watching and feeling a little scared and feeling quite proud of my big city savvy.
* talked and laughed with my friend. And thought a lot. And wondered how I could bring this mindfulness home with me for everyday life.

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