My husband Mark joined our two college-age nephews at an indoor hockey rink. Afterward, I got the details about their stick-handling practice and pickup scrimmage. Mark also told me a story about what happened in the locker room as they packed their gear to leave.
“How long have we been here?” one nephew asked, of no one in particular.
“The whole time,” his brother replied.
Mindfulness is “allowing yourself to be where you already are, to become more familiar with our actual experience moment by moment,” Jon Kabat-Zinn writes in Full Catastrophe Living. You're absorbed in what you’re doing and time exists in the background. You look at the clock and, surprise!, it's been that long.
Will you be able to say you were there?
Here we are at Labor Day weekend (already!). Whether you're laboring or lazing the next few days, there's an implied deadline: soak up all the summertime fun that you possibly can because the season is coming to an end.
Next week, when someone asks about your holiday, you’ll share stories about the things you did and the places you went and the people you saw.
Will you be able to say you were mentally there, where you physically were? If someone asks how long you were there, will you be able to say you were there the whole time?
Practice: Be where you are
I have an invitation for you, which I hope you’ll accept: Be where you are, the whole time. Here’s how to begin this practice.
Standing in line to buy one more bag of ice? Try this: Be in that line. Tune in to the sensation of standing or shift into your tall posture or listen to a conversation in the next line or even talk with the person in front of you.
Chatting with your friends and at the same time mentally planning the transport of family and belongings to the next event? When you realize that you’ve mentally left the conversation, you’ve now come back to where you are and that’s the best time to tune in, listen and engage.
Tune in now. Be in and among and with what's happening right now. With practice, you'll realize that you're more often mentally here, where you are physically. And it’s a benefit to you and to others when you’re right here, right now.
Because that’s where you are.
The whole time.
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