This morning I have been gently plagued by a subtle sensation of having overlooked something, or that ‘something is missing’ or forgotten. After some moments, I realized I hadn’t made coffee. Later on, I notice I have forgotten to switch off the burner on the stove. Later still I notice that I was distracted while dressing – and have one fuzzy spa sock on, and one sturdy warm hiking sock. I know one thing with certainty; I have not been starting my day from a mindful place. Fortunately, the solution is both simple and low-cost.. there are, of course, verbs involved. 🙂

Loving begins with the woman in the mirror.

Loving begins with the woman in the mirror.

I slow myself down, taking time to breathe – really breathe, without being distracted by things other than this moment, this breath. I notice the tension in my shoulders, and the eagerness in my approach to beginning the day – sloppy, inattentive, but enthusiastic. I let the tension fall away, breathing, and letting the sensation and experience of breathing be enough to fill this moment. I let my awareness extend and expand, embracing the coziness of my wee home, and the warmth and joy of the beats playing on the stereo – K-Lab “Out the Door” starts the day with energy and movement. Movement becomes dance, and I stay engaged in this moment, allowing my sense of self and place to be fluid, feeling stiff joints begin to move more easily, pain begins to ease, the smile on my face settles into something soft, without edges, fearless and joyful. Dance is another sort of meditation altogether – and I smile, thinking of dancers other than I – ‘real ones’, professionals, committed amateurs of great skill, passionate performers of public art, I am awed by that kind of devotion to an art form – the sort whereby ones entire physical being is transformed almost into another sort of creature entirely. I am not that sort of dancer – I’m the 52-year-old version of a teenager dancing in front of her mirror; I enjoy the way dancing feels and any appearance of skill in any one moment is pure coincidence, and that’s totally okay.

I dance through all manner of small chores: dishes, making up the bed, tidying this and that, cleaning the bathroom. The morning no longer feels like something has been overlooked, and between meditation, and dancing, I find myself feeling ‘reconnected’ to myself, to my own experience, and no longer on auto-pilot. It is a cold morning (outside) and my bones seem to know it, they crack and pop as I move, but the aching isn’t bad today, and I am in less pain than on many other mornings. I consider the matter of ‘auto pilot’ for some minutes, wondering at the balance between needing/using it – and allowing life to slip by on programming that is reliably adequate to pass time but hardly counts as ‘living’. I very much prefer to live life, mistakes and all. It’s taken a while to be certain of that, and there have certainly been some moments when it has been frightening to let go of some long-standing habit I have relied on in order to embrace a truly unscripted authentic experience of living life. Totally worth it.

I sit back for a moment and consider how positive and… good…things have been lately. I find myself wondering a tad insecurely whether I am less interesting without the day-to-day struggling and suffering – followed by a moment of puzzlement afterward that such a worry could even be a thing. I sometimes worry that I may stray into bragging, or smugness, or complacency, or a feeling of superiority – or a sense of having finished this journey prematurely somehow. This quantity of good days is unfamiliar, new territory on this journey of mine – I am unlikely to take it for granted, but words are devilishly subtle, often giving away what seems hidden from the writer’s view. I know that I want to communicate that incremental change over time is a real thing, that we can improve our individual experience of our circumstances – and even our circumstances themselves – and that it is possible to wade through all the chaos and damage to reach another place entirely… but… I very much want to do so in a way that is inclusive, and reaches beyond my own limited mortal experience to some distant point out there, where you are – or someone else – reading these words, looking for something to hold on to, whatever that might be. I want to say ‘You can do this! See? I did… which surely means it is doable!”… I most specifically do not intend a message of  ‘ha ha, look where I got and you aren’t here’ – a message which would be both very cruel, and also a serious indication I hadn’t gotten very far at all, really. I maintain a certain tender concern that I not cause harm through carelessly communicating effortlessness, or ease – there really are verbs involved – but I earnestly also want to shout from the roof tops “you can do this! we all can do this!” hoping someone might feel just a little less alone or discouraged, out there on their own journey through the chaos and damage.

Every morning a new start, every horizon a new destination, and every moment a new experience.

Every morning a new start, every horizon a new destination, and every moment a new experience.

…And, let’s be real, I’m both pleased and grateful to be in this better place than I’ve ever been before. Celebrating that is a worthy thing. I am taking those steps that move life from surviving to thriving – one at a time, with plenty of practice, and pausing to return to mindfulness when I notice that feeling that something is missing. 🙂