Practicing Mindfulness: Lessons from a Hound Dog
<![CDATA[My husband is currently teaching a class on Mindfulness. Truthfully, though I hear him talk about the subject frequently and have a basic understanding of what mindfulness is, I have not been practicing it. Not well anyway. So this month when my husband began preparing to lead his class, I started picking the book he’s using up off the bedside table and reading along. And I gotta tell you it’s good stuff to read, hard to practice. The first exercise Mindfulness: An eight week plan for finding peace in a frantic world had me do was to eat a raisin. But I wasn’t just supposed to eat the raisin, I was supposed to hold, see, feel, and taste the raisin. I was supposed to notice everything about the experience of eating a raisin. This was actually pretty easy to do cause raisins are pretty funny looking yet taste really good. I also did this in the presence of my kids who thought it was hilarious and came up with a million gross things raisins remind them of. But when I moved on to the second practice of actually paying attention to the process of brushing my teeth, I was toast. I’d get about 10 seconds into the habit of brushing when my mind would flit to what had happened earlier in the day and then I’d remember, “Oh crap, I’m supposed to notice what it actually is like to brush my teeth.” I was aware briefly of the foaminess of the toothpaste and then bam, I was down a wormhole of distraction again thinking about all the things I needed to take care of the next day. And that is basically the point of mindfulness. We live most of our lives distracted and unaware of what is actually happening around us. We miss so much.
2 thoughts on “Practicing Mindfulness: Lessons from a Hound Dog”
When my boys were young, I would drive them to school each day. For a solid week I missed road we always turn on to get to the school. I was puzzled. So the next Monday I was “mindful” of turning at that spot and trying to find out why I had missed it for a week. I discovered that the house on that corner had cut down a big tree. I had a part of my brain that looked for that tree and then told the rest of my brain to turn. Without the tree – well I was never told to turn so I didn’t.
So as we grow I think we give little tasks to parts of our brain so that the main part can concentrate on other things like not running off the road or hitting the car in front of us or listening to our children talk.
Still, there are many things that deserve our mindfulness.
I find that I have a better day with my grand child that I keep, if I do not watch TV but give him my full attention. We paint, read books, build with blocks, play in the water at the sink, etc. Being mindful of him gives us both a better day. I get to see him smile, laugh, giggle, and learn new things. I give thanks every day even though there are things I sometimes want to do but can’t till he goes home. I know his mom is missing out on so many wonderful things. So I keep her posted with pictures and she does the same for me.
I also think that some things are better forgotten. My cancer medicine, Femara, makes my hips hurt constantly. I try to not notice the pain and let my attention live in other moments.
I love the story of your mindful dog best of all.