Recently I was dealt a few smacks on the side of my head that ended up being gentle taps on my shoulders. Let me just say that it wasn’t pretty, but it could have been a lot worse. In the past month, I’ve lost (I prefer to say “misplaced”) my wallet and my car key, and not at the same time.
As a yoga and meditation teacher I spend my days talking and writing about all things regarding mindfulness — a way to notice if you are paying attention moment to moment, on purpose, with kindness.
In fact, I’ve dedicated my professional life to helping people develop practices that help them to move, speak, eat, and live more mindfully.
By practicing mindfulness we cultivate the capacity to experience moments in our lives more fully. We show up to smell the roses, so to speak. We also learn to move and speak more slowly and deliberately, connect with others more deeply, and tend to be more focused, clear, relaxed, steady, and joyful.
One would think that if I spend most of my waking day teaching mindfulness practices, I would be uber-mindful myself, right?
I’d like to tell you that I float through life like I’m walking on rose petals and that I’m perpetually cheery and patient.
Well, the truth is, I’m not. In fact, I’m often just the opposite. Let me explain.
On any given day my to-do list hovers around thirty items and includes what I call “big rocks,” like writing an article, prepping for a workshop, connecting with a Verge Yoga teacher, or responding to an email from a student. The list also includes a load of pebbles such as replacing my license (what a pain) or making a dentist appointment.
My recent acts of mindlessness have made me realize three things:
- Carrying big rocks and pebbles with me wherever I go makes me impatient and careless.
- Big rocks and pebbles will continue to regenerate themselves.
- I don’t have to carry them on my shoulders or in my hands 24/7.
Losing my wallet and my car key are big inconveniences, but they’re not tragic occurrences. In reality, my wallet and key are easily replaceable. While at first I thought misplacing these items were smacks on the side of my head to be more mindful, both situations were actually gentle reminders to put down some rocks and pebbles, reduce the speed at which I am moving through the world, and to even stop and smell the roses.