I finally get it, I do!
This morning I was mowing. Even though I wanted to pass the chore on to my son, I actually kind of like doing it. Of course I do have to get out really early to avoid the worst of the heat. By 9:00 a.m. sweat was dripping into my eyes even though most of the yard was still in the shade. Being a Texas summer, it was hot already. Despite the droplets on my face, I was very focused. It all came down to my lawn mower.
It is the first electric lawn mower I’ve ever had and I’m nervous I’ll run over the cord and electrocute myself. So I am very mindful of what I’m doing. I hear that phrase, be mindful, all the time now. I go to yoga frequently and the teachers are mind readers. When I start to wander off, thinking about dinner or what I’m going to do next, the teacher invariably says, “Everyone be mindful of this moment. It is all that matters right now. Not the past, not the future.” Yes, ma’am.
It’s not hard to mow. My new mower is super easy to start and stop and restart. It is lightweight and maneuvers nicely. But it has a cord. One that is invariably snaking its way in front of me. I hope I’m building arm muscle when I yank the cord and sling it behind me all the while moving forward.
The definition of mindfulness is being aware or being careful. In mindfulness meditation, the practitioner is trying to achieve a feeling of stability and calmness. I did discover that we need to create a sense of discipline, whether we are trying to be mindful in our meditation or our prayers or even just when being with our children. Just like anything, we need to practice and work at it.
So yes, I’m very mindful while I’m mowing. I work hard to not let my mind wander so that I will stay safe and get the job done. Why is it so hard to be mindful, stay in the moment, at other times? I have not mastered the art of meditation yet. My mind is not cooperating. I think about my stiff neck or wonder what time is it instead of giving myself the gift of focus. Is it because it’s a gift for me and I think I don’t deserve it? Mowing the yard isn’t for me. Not really. I’m probably doing it so the neighbors don’t complain. The mower was a gift and I don’t want to buy another one if I break it.
Wait a minute, I’m having a light bulb moment! It is a life and death kind of thing. If I don’t stay focused and run over the cord I will be killed and I don’t want to die. Wow, that really is a gift to me! And yes, I would say that I deserve to live awhile longer. Actually a lot longer. So now that I know what mindfulness is and what it feels like, can I, will I, carry it to other areas, like my prayer life and even my writing?
You think it would be easy to focus on completing this post. Easy to write, yes, not so easy to focus while writing. I keep thinking of other things I need to do like forward a picture of my new haircut to my daughter, send an email about the non-working machinery I have in my bathroom, or the nap I would love to attempt. So maybe I need to meditate before I write or just mow. Whatever it takes to get my brain to feel calm enough to focus on the immediate task before me. Oh, but a nap would feel so good right now, especially since I did mow this morning.