Throughout the day, I try to engage myself in intentional mindfulness. I’ve been reading a lot of the subject, and I just read a piece on taking mindful walks. Going slowly, trying to notice everything. This morning, instead of putting in my earbuds to listen to a podcast on a walk to the cafe, I opted to aim for a mindful walk.
It was overwhelming. There is so much to take it. The way your feet step, a tickle in the back of your knee, the sounds of birds chirping, automobile exhaust, light reflecting off a neighbor’s koi pond, a gust of wind chilling your neck… this, and a near infinite more, all within approximately three seconds. I gave up before getting to the end of my street, and instead focused on my breath (another mindful tactic).
Arriving at the cafe, I felt pretty defeated. And bewildered — how was noticing how much, well, muchness, there is was not at all calming; it was absolutely maddening. After taking my order to a small table, I remembered another practice — mindful eating. So I picked up my finger sandwich, and took a bite, trying to notice all the tastes and textures and temperatures. It was easier, but still a lot to register all at once. Then I closed my eyes.
Oh, the difference! I was able to really delight in the experience of my meal. It sounds silly, but putting down my fork, and waiting until after I had chewed, swallowed, and reflected my bite made the experience exponentially more enjoyable. I know this is not a new revelation, but gosh, removing the visual element from the equation really elevated everything.
It got me to thinking about sex. I’ve met people who have strong opinions on keeping your eyes open while kissing or engaging in coitus, but few have commented on the importance of keeping your eyes shut — even though the majority of people do. It tunes your focus onto the other sensations happening. Again, not news breaking, but much of what mindfulness reveals is mostly simple, should-be obvious truths.
Happiness doesn’t have to be about deeply insightful discoveries; sometimes, it can be as simple as being a kook in a cafe eating her eyes closed.