Friday, June 17, 2011

Ramblings In My Mind Vol. X

Mindfulness is something that I practice. It is not something that I have accomplished. In our multi-tasking and over stimulated culture it is difficult to focus on one thing or one moment. Sometimes I think I have Attention Deficit Disorder and I know I have what the Buddhists call “Monkey Mind”. In my mind there is a lot of chatter and jumping about. Although I may appear to be calm and centered on the outside, my mind is a whirling dervish of thoughts, daydreams and mental conversations with myself. Some of this is side trip from too many meaningless and mundane activities that I cannot seem to escape. I think about this as I continue to explore my overall sense of well-being. While I am generally peaceful and calm as I go about my life, overall well-being seems elusive. Although my financial and material well-being is generally acceptable, there is too much that upsets me, distracts me, is unfulfilled, or simply annoys me. Even my attempts at relaxation are often exhausting. I find myself bouncing around in my attempts to be present to the moment, the task, or the activity. Even in my being I am too often doing. All of this gives me much to ponder and reflect upon. How do you rate your own well-being?

Yesterday I woke up to a beautiful morning. It was cool and the humidity had taken a holiday. Despite the wonderful morning weather it was a typical Monday. The day was busy and long but did have some unforeseen and good surprises. The highlight of the day was picking my granddaughter up at her daycare. During the summer I will be doing this every Monday. When I walked into the day care I was treated like a rock star. Of course, I am “Paw Paw” so I am a rock star. My granddaughter ran up to me full of excitement just as she has for as long as she has been able to run. “Paw Paw, I made you a tie dyed picture”! She and I know one another very well. I think she is the Queen of the Universe and she knows I love Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead, and all things tie dye. At one time she was the only kid in the pre-school program who wore a Jerry Garcia shirt. I admit that I have spent much of my life feeling unloved. Then God sent me a granddaughter. She has at times overwhelmed me with her love. She will be seven years old in a few weeks and I think she‘s the most loving person I have ever known. After leaving the daycare, with Grandma in tow, we headed for the Dairy Queen where we ate cheeseburgers and chicken tenders before sitting out in the sun with our Oreo and Brownie Blizzards. OK, I know I am a diabetic and a Blizzard should not touch my lips but give me a break. I was with the Queen of the Universe. When this happens one must make some concessions. When our Blizzard cups were empty we took a walk and collected some rocks. Soon enough Dad appeared, I had to take leave of my Queen, and then Paw Paw went home for a nap. Blizzard eating and rock collecting can be grueling.

I love mornings. Admittedly I don’t like being forced out of bed. However, whether getting out of bed is of my choosing or forced, morning is still my favorite time of the day. On these summer mornings I love the songs of the birds, the coolness of the air, the quiet of my neighborhood, and the peacefulness I generally feel. I am also a great lover of the coffee bean and the first taste of my morning java is always delectable. On workdays, once I am out of bed, dressed, and the caffeine is entering my blood stream, I always allow myself 15-20 minutes to just sit, be quiet, read something positive and uplifting, and get myself centered. I don’t like to be running late, feeling rushed, or already in a frenzy before I even step outside the threshold of my home. Sometimes during the demands of the day I can feel as though I’m pulled out of my center. When that happens I go take a walk outside so I can regain my centeredness. You cannot survive the tug of war that daily life often is unless you are centered and balanced.

I’ve been reading a booked titled “A Monk in the Inner City”. It is written by a Benedictine nun who is living among the poor and disenfranchised people of her city. She has also been a social activist in her ministry. In one chapter she mourns the “lost loves” of her life. She is not talking about significant others. She is referring to the decline of the “passions” that drove her in her youth and motivated her to want to change the world. Now she is older, tired, frustrated, and sometimes overwhelmed with the challenges of social activism. I am not a social activist and most of us aren’t. However, I bet that most of us, especially those who are older, can identify with her feelings of burnout. I know there are many days I am “over it”. Still, I am a passionate person and I have fire in my belly. The older I get the feistier I become. On some levels the older you get the less afraid you are. By the time you are 50 years old you have survived so much. There’s truth in the adage that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. I have passion for joyful things like music and books but I also have passion for doing what is right as well as being kind and compassionate. How about you?

Yesterday my day began with some unhappy people. I like people but I must admit that I sometimes find them exhausting. I know some of this is because I am an extreme introvert. After I doused the flames of discontent as best I could I realized I was very hungry so I went downstairs to our Lobby Shop for some breakfast. Needing an additional boost I also got a cup of the strongest Starbucks coffee they had brewed. I stood in the line to pay for everything. When I got up to the cashier she informed that the gentleman across from me in the other line had paid for my breakfast. I looked at him and said, “Wow! Thank you! What a guy”! Once again my faith in mankind was renewed. This is actually the second time in less than a year that a stranger has bought me a meal. Back in December my youngest son and I were eating in a Waffle House. When I asked the waitress for my check she informed me that the gentleman walking out the door had bought our meal. He looked like I should have bought his meal. In spite of all the complaining that we human beings do there are still examples of random kindness in our world. As you go through your day look for opportunities to be kind. While you’re at it throw in some acts of senseless beauty. You will make someone’s day.

No comments: