For some time now, I’ve been aware, mindful you might say, of how I drift. Instead of feeling the skin/muscle/bone beneath my hands while giving a massage, I am building imaginary conversations or going on imaginary road trips. In the middle of listening to the music, the poet, the friend, I realize I’ve stopped hearing the music, the words, the story. Most of the time, my wandering mind causes no harm, I nudge it back to where it’s supposed to be and carry on. But I’ve been wondering how different it would feel to give some real attention to paying attention.
So this month I’ve come up with a list of thirty-one mindfulness practices to try. Some are simple timed meditations, some are working through the routines of my day with a keener focus, and some are broader themes to direct my attention towards all that good stuff like patience, acceptance, and trust.
Mary Oliver has a few things to say on the subject. I’ve pulled her collection off my shelf and will keep it on hand. Let’s start with this from her poem “Sometimes.”