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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Presence.

So when I come here to write, I have this need to make it worth reading.  It's one of those ways of thinking that can be so destructive to progress: refusing to do something unless you can do it exactly how you want and know the outcome will be exactly what you want it to be.  Because honestly how often does anything meet my expectations?  I don't know.  I'm learning all about the suckiness of expectations.  And here I am right now, a click away from deleting this draft altogether, and who knows how many months will go by before I open up another blank new entry screen and start typing.

No.  This time, I will finish and I will post.

So that's one of the things I want to talk about, I guess.  Being committed to changing small behaviors.  I've been telling myself I wanted to write a new blog entry for surely months now.  I tell myself every week all the things I need to do, to change, to work toward a better and healthier me.  But these moments, the ones where I actually decide to execute a different behavior, that's where the gold is.  And like gold, these moments are precious and rare.  And in the beginning (and aren't we all always at the beginning?), these moments are crucial.  And they are something to be proud of, something to celebrate!  Every time I decide not to stuff my face with some disgusting corn syrup laden piece of something that Americans call chocolate, every time I opt for a ripe juicy orange or a shiny red apple instead, that is something to be mindful of, to relish, to celebrate.  I should let my mind resonate on these moments.  I deserve to savor the feeling.

Mindfulness is something I think about a lot (which I guess is kinda ironic, ain't it?).  I've always known I'm a real glosser, meaning I'm not the most aware person who ever lived.  I often miss details of what's going on around me or being communicated to me unless they are of interest to me for a specific reason.  Cecil has taught me a lot about why it's important to be mindful, but I've just been the other way for 30 years so it's taking time to change.  I didn't always understand why it should be so important to me to become mindful, but I realize that nothing worth doing is going to get done right without mindfulness.

I think being mindful is incredibly important to being physically and mentally fit.  When I'm stuffing my face with junk food, I'm not being mindful.  Sometimes I'm just on autopilot, doing what I've always done to comfort myself, pass the time, get through life.  When I'm laying around in bed in the mornings when I should be getting up to get my daily exercise in before work, I'm not being mindful.  And emotionally, when I let stupid shit bother me for no good reason, I'm not being mindful.  When I get stuck on something and seem hell-bent on staying annoyed by it, I'm not being mindful.  When I tell myself week after week I will get back on the train next week, I'm sure as hell not being mindful.

I guess the thing about mindfulness is that you have to keep practicing it your whole life.  You don't just achieve it one day and then never have to worry about it again.  And it's like that with everything I'm learning.  I used to think my weight, my physical fitness, was the only devil that I couldn't defeat, the only thing that kept coming back and back and back in my life, but in reality, all devils do this.  Lessons learned must be re-learned.  Accomplishments must be re-accomplished   Goals met must be met again.  There is no getting off the hook.

So for the richest life, a life with a strong body and a peaceful mind, I must be mindful.  There just ain't no gettin' around it.  But honestly, there are much worse unavoidable things.  Being mindful means I get to enjoy every bite of a juicy strawberry.  It means I get to be tuned in to the way my muscles feel after climbing a mountain in the snow.  And then I get to gaze out from the mountain's tip and let the big sky engulf me, and no thoughts or worries will rob me of that moment.

Life is truly nothing more than a long chain of moments.  Each moment is a chance to live the right way.