As I’ve mentioned before, one of my major mindfulness challenges is that, no matter what I’m doing in the moment, my brain is usually already on the next thing I need or want to do. Or the thing after the next thing.
I have a strong suspicion this is because I’m a habitual list-maker. Rather ironic, because I became a devotee decades ago when I stumbled over and into an article evangelizing the power of lists to move the chores of an overbooked life out of short-term memory, allowing us to give full attention to the task at hand. And while making lists does help me keep a lot of balls in the air, the article failed to mention a possible downside: my focus switched from remembering the day’s tasks to thinking about checking as many of those tasks off said list as possible.
Daily walks with my terrier-guru are an opportunity, often missed, to pay attention. Even when I’m lost in thought, though, my eyes are scanning for flora and fauna as we walk along the trail. When I spy a bright color or quick movement I snap right back into the here and now.
This morning I spotted an inchworm.
You know, I couldn’t say what I ate for breakfast an hour ago without ruminating. Yet, at the sight of a small chartreuse caterpillar in downward-facing dog on a fallen branch I immediately remembered, word for word, a tune from a movie I saw as a child in the 1960s:
Most days, I’m more worm than yogi. I meticulously inventory every leaf and petal on my calendar and forget to step back to admire the flowers.
But I did stop to sing to an inchworm this morning.
Better add that to today’s list.
[Thanks to the following photographers for making their work available through the Creative Commons license: Jessica Lucia and Diane Cordell.]