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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Grocery Store Wisdom - Mindful Awareness

I thought maybe I’d be writing about loss today, in light of the recent loss of our cat, and the loss of a blog friend’s mother. But I returned to the necessary mundane activities, life continued in its usual way, and the grocery store offered yet another wisdom. So here I am with another edition of Grocery Store Wisdom…

I forgot to take my grocery list with me today. I’ve been in kind of a fog the last few days, as the emotions have rolled in and out. So standing in the produce section, realizing I didn’t have my list, I came into the present moment and started moving through the store, trying to remember what was on the list. I did pretty good actually. I only forgot 4 things! Not bad from a list of 35 items, especially when in the last few years I’ve found myself in the middle of a room wondering the existential question - what am I doing here? I guess I’d pass a memory test, at least for now…

Anyway, what I noticed in this losing of the list was that I became more mindful – more aware. As I made my way through the store, I had to slow down, look, pay attention and be mindful – pulling on those memory cells, triggering them with the visuals of the products on the shelves, or the directory signs hanging above each isle. Nope, not this one. Ah – yes – toilet paper. Wouldn’t want to forget that! I felt myself becoming more internally still, less mind chatter, more innately *aware*, more in tune with my surroundings. I was more acutely sensitive to what I was experiencing in the moment.

This happened to me several years ago as well. It was a Sunday afternoon. I had been reading a novel on the couch while a large turkey breast was cooking in the oven. For some unknown reason sometimes when I read novels I become more mindful. Maybe it’s because I get completely drawn into the story – forgetting my self. When I went into the kitchen the *sound* of the turkey fat spitting in the pan as it drizzled off the skin became an intense, delightful noise that enamored me for several minutes as I stood there – just listening – just aware of every delightful sound.

In my usual blind-folders-on approach to grocery shopping, and life in general sometimes, it’s kinda like being a little mole, blind to everything else except the items right in front of my nose on my list, or in my life. Just digging my little holes and burrowing in. In the ‘forgot-my-list’ mode my awareness expanded out to a more inclusive view of the whole environment that I was in, taking it all in, experiencing everything – willingly – even with a sense of curiosity as it all unfolded before me – as if it was something new. My field of vision became wider… Maybe I should leave my list home more often! I might experience something that I wouldn’t otherwise.

It appears that in mindful awareness life opens up, things slow down, and I actually *experience* life more fully, more completely. I feel more drawn in by life – like being drawn in to a good novel. I am captured by the story of life that is being lived in the moment, instead of just trying to get through it, or resisting where it is going. I seem to *see* more. It’s like awareness looks directly at the way things are and just *sees* - acutely sees everything as it is. I’ve never really experienced this so intensely before. Today I was made *aware* of how *awareness* can shift the experience. If you live life without a list – an agenda – you actually open more to life with whatever it has for you. You actually *see* life – moment by moment. Hmmm… No list, no agenda - just experiencing life with mindful awareness – the totality of the experience – the loss, the contraction of grief, and the mundane.

Heart Smiles – MeANderi
www.ASerenitySanctuary.com

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