I am currently reading The Art of Living by Thich Nhat Hanh. And I am trying to follow his teachings about practicing mindfulness everyday in all my activities and resting moments.
Mindfulness allows you to live deeply every moment that is given you to live.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
It is not easy, but I am learning. It is called “‘practice” for a reason. What this means for me is I work to bring my mind back to whatever is in front of me over and over again. When I do my morning stretches, I stay with my body and all her sensations and try to keep my mind from ticking off my list of to-dos. If I am eating, I try to feel the food in my mouth, texture, taste, smell and feel grateful when I leave the table, satisfied and nourished. When I am with someone, I try to listen and feel and be with them, not allowing my mind to go off, or start thinking about what I want to say. I fail miserably most days, but when I am present and mindful, even for a few minutes, it feels wonderful.
Yesterday morning walking my little dog around our neighborhood, I was mindful, doing a good job of staying in each moment; Feeling the rhythm of my feet hitting the pavement, my legs moving, enjoying the sun and cool morning air moving in and out of my lungs. Little Girl, as a dog, is always mindful. Her whole being was absorbed in the scents on both sides of the path and her duty to leave her own essence over each spot. As we walked past the small lake (more like a pond) we were greeted by a gaggle of honking Canadian Geese, grousing and pooping along the shore. Little Girl got her hackles up. She looked like a white skunk with a mohawk of dirty yellow hair along her spine as she excitedly yapped at the fowl. I slowed down and enjoyed the show before we continued on, moving past the Gazebo that stands over the water. We then turned right to walk the path around the lake. Here we were met by a flock of Mallard ducks. I was so happy to see that each and every duck was paired up, ready for mating season. Male, female, male, female, male female; the ladies in camo-brown, with a blue stripe on each wing and the guys with their stylish colorful plumage. One drake in particular caught my attention. He seemed larger than his buddies, his head of dark metallic green was amazing, shining like a new car as he moved turned to stare beady eyed at the dog. The pairs seemed to be communicating, maybe planning their upcoming mating ritual, the eggs then the hatchlings that would arrive in spring. I could just hear one brown feathered hen asking “Are you even going to hang around long enough to help sit on our eggs? I don’t want to be stuck like I was last year.”
Then something amazing happened. And I am very glad that I am not inclined to pull out my phone to capture everything on video. Because then I would have missed it, and not been mindful at all. It started with the sound of many flapping wings as the Canadians on the other side of the lake suddenly took flight, one big guy leading the V shaped formation. They did not soar to the sky, but came gliding down in formation. The honking continued as they hydroplaned across the surface, spraying plumes of water on both sides, landing like a fleet of seaplanes. WOW! It was SOOO cool. Little Girl was alarmed, maybe they were coming over to get her for pissing on their poop. As the geese calmed down and floated around on the water, heads held high, I heard one of them ask, “How’d you like that? Bet you Ducks couldn’t pull that off.” And I distinctly heard the big drake quack “Show offs!”
I felt so blessed by the show. Something I’m sure I’ve witnessed many times before, but never really experienced. On this morning, I was truly present and mindful. I began clapping and said, “Bravo! Bravo!” Then me and Littler Girl continued on our walk.