Exercise In Mindfulness

I’ve been trying almost constantly to focus, to live in the moment. To be aware, to “be here now.” It is an ongoing exercise, particularly because I’ve trained my mind to be a multi-tasking, channel-surfing, short-attention span distraction machine.

In the shower, looking at the water splash over my feet. Experiencing the sensations of warm water splash over my body, splatter on my scalp. Listening to all the wet sounds. The pressure of the soap bar on my arms and chest. The rough-soft texture of the blue towel. Fresh tartness of toothpaste, cutting through the bittersweet pall of coffee. Lining up all the librations on the counter. Pressure of rolling on sticky-dry deodorant. Sharp pungent mouthwash. Burst of aromatic cologne. Steamy bathroom, scrape of razor on one-day whiskers. Sting of Visine in wakening eyes.

Moving smoothly through my room, stuffy from four computer running all night. Gathering up the necessary items for the day, reviewing in real-time the day ahead. Sounds of my black canvas briefcase; zippers, strap, scraping of texture. Sunlight irradiating the living room. Sunlight through the bright green dogwood leaves. Pear pieces chewed up by squirrels on the sidewalk. The dark green basil coming back slowly after harvesting. The dried heads of zinnias and coneflowers in the garden.

Delicious bath of cool air from the air conditioner. Crows flying across the sky. Engine purring. New tires humming over 501. Pinkish-orange clouds as the sun rises. People in their cars, sipping coffee, talking on cellphones. Flashes of thoughts, dreams, regrets, determinations. Must stay away from constant Internet surfing. From eating prodigiously. To find balance and harmony amid the overwhelming sense of a life that went somewhere perhaps I did not intend and am struggling to accept. Trying to be aware that the moment, right now, is perhaps exactly, precisely where I am supposed to be in the destiny river.

The solid chunk of the car door. Weight of briefcase on the shoulder. Walking slowly, feeling the parking lot under my feet. A wasp flying by. Bumblebees sipping from the purple speedbush clustering in the parched mulch beside the building. Taking a breath and hearing the swoosh of the glass door upon entering the building. Phones, collages of voices, footsteps. The day begins, the journey continues. Another day in the life. Listening for guidance. Trying to smile and gently forgive myself. Trying to reroute the synapses and the habitual pain-shame-guilt pathways. Trying to lift the mental fog and wake up. To be grateful. To experience the moment. To capture the reflections of the puddle, the shadows in the stucco, the faces behind the windows, the people in the houses, and to celebrate the simple joy of being alive. Today. Just for today.

~ Craig Shaffer | Aug. 19 2008

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