Everything is about mindfulness these days. What we used to call “being conscious” or “awareness” has a brand-new name. I love that people are catching on to this idea, so whatever name does the job, I’m all for it.
My morning sadhana (yoga/meditation practice) has evolved as of late, to include mindfulness in ordinary life. I think of it as my meditation practice–such things as making tea, making the bed. My practice has often included mindful dog walking, and now today—poop scooping.
A little background is in order here. My family used to live in a townhouse with a yard you could walk through in two steps. Walking to a bike path was the only way the dogs could do their business. Now we have a glorious fenced in half-acre or so where–among other activities, such as hammock relaxing and fire pit gathering–the two dogs can relieve themselves at times when the humans are busy.
So on this glorious, blue-skied fall morning, I got the impulse to spend some quality time in my yard with doggy bags in hand, searching among the colorful leaves for camouflaged “presents” from the dogs. I delighted to think that I would surprise my husband, who has many times brought up the hazards of leaf-blowing and gardening among the land mines of doggy do.
It was actually fun, and of course, mindful. After the first one or two scoops, I got the mental picture of what I was looking for among the similarly colored and shaped earth and leaves. After the first couple, it became much easier that finding Waldo.
I am convinced that mindfulness is not so much about watching the pieces of mindfulness— watching your breath, being present to your body, mind, the air, the colors… But all of the pieces can somehow add up to a wholeness. And the wholeness is greater than the parts. The proof of mindfulness is a feeling of peace, happiness, contentedness, satisfaction in “just this’.
Another way of saying it is that poop-scooping is just a focus to flow the energy of now.
I can delight in the moment that my eyes recognize the shape I am searching for among the leaves, in the actual scooping, while tying the bags and seeing them pile up, in washing my hands, sipping my tea, listening to the birds, writing this note. My morning practice is extending longer and longer. I wonder…could it someday cover my whole day?
Of course, there are times during the day where something happens and we react. When we are taken by surprise, and the proverbial dog poop is on the bottom of the shoe. Well, the cool thing is that mindfulness doesn’t discriminate. There is the possibility of mindfulness at all times—if not in the exact moment when we react, then it can be the moment after.
It seems that once awareness or mindfulness is there, the situation becomes more ok. And we feel more ok about ourselves too.
And if we cannot find our way to mindfulness in a particular situation? That happens. Self-acceptance can still be there. Allowing ourselves to learn and grow at our own pace goes a long way toward mindfulness.
Cup of tea, anyone?