Check out “Mindfulness” on Google, and if you print out the results, you could use your entire ink cartridge. Read Emily’s 600 or so word essay — and you can wrap up the whole subject and be on your way to your next life-activity — mindfully.
Let me first assure the meditators, and the 30 minute (or 30 second) exercisers in the practice – that I am in hearty approval of whatever helps you live stresslessly, healthfully, and happily.
For me, it all started with the best gift I ever received : my car accident. There I was, “mindlessly” driving in slow traffic, east on Linton Boulevard approaching Federal Highway. My head might have been in Publix, or Paris, on my bicycle, preparing for my next Memoir Writing class, planning dinner and/or listening to a book on CD. It sure wasn’t on the car creeping in front of me—that is, until I felt the bump. And dear jurors, that’s all it was – a bump. But it caused the hood of my car to fold up like an accordion, stopping just before it hit my windshield. (My mechanic told me it was designed to do that to protect the windshield from shattering all over the driver) Happily, no one was hurt, the three occupants of the car that was bumped jack rabbitted out of it to inspect the damage, as did I, the usual police report was filed, I was towed to a body shop, my insurance paid the outlandish cost of repair, my premium skyrocketed by more than three-fold, I eventually sold the car, and bought my dream of a yellow car.
I will never forget the feelings and thoughts I had as I experienced the “bump.” How I berated myself in language unfamiliar to my own tongue. The curses and the “stupidities” I hurled as I became so aware of my own culpability. Where, where where was I?
And in the simplest of terms: That’s how I learned mindfulness. Ever since that incident, my car will always lag a car’s length behind the one in front of me – despite the horns and vulgar expletives of disgruntled drivers who love to tailgate and still believe woman belong in the kitchen .
But this kind of mindfulness extends way beyond my driving. As I hear about more and more of my peers, and the children and even grandchildren of my peers falling, tripping, toppling, and toe-stubbing and as I hear about broken ribs, hips, knees, and crania, I have become fanatically aware of my surroundings, talking to myself incessantly about all that could happen if I let up on my consciousness. “The ground is uneven, watch your step,” “It’s okay to change that light bulb, but be conscious about it when you do,” “Yes, get back on your bike but be aware of the stones and debris on the ground,” “Hold that knife away from you when you cut – and be aware that your fingers can slip with the force of it and cut your hand,” “If you can’t reach it, yes, use the step stool –but make sure you have places to hold on,” “The parking lot is slippery. Remember that when you take the garbage to the dumpster.”
It’s fine to take a deep breathe, and check out your chakras, but when you’ve finished doing that, don’t forget to watch out for the hole in the ground and the unexpected curb on the side walk and the throw rug in your living room that you could easily trip over and the frying pan that is still sizzling.