As I shared in my post about New Year’s Resolutions, I began a meditation practice this year. I’ve been pretty good at sticking with it. It’s a guided meditation which makes it easier for this newbie who has never been very good at sitting still and not thinking!
Meditating off the mat.
Today’s meditation was about practicing the mindfulness of meditation off the mat… in other words, in daily life, and not just when you’re sitting down and formally meditating. The trick is to pay attention to what’s happening, note how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking about, and focus on bringing yourself back to the present moment.
My biggest challenge in life and in my daily meditation is staying present.
During my daily 10-minute meditation I often find my mind wandering. Thankfully the voice guiding me reminds me to come back to the breath. I’m sure with practice I will get better, but so often it feels like my mind has a mind of its own!
A Virtual Slap in the Face.
Then, this morning I got a virtual slap in the face that cemented the importance of being present and not always worrying about what happened yesterday, last week, or last month, or what might happen tomorrow, next week, or next month.
Hope and I were on a pet therapy visit at the senior center.
We’ve been going there twice a month for more than two years. We visit with seniors ranging in age from sixty to ninety-plus.
Even though they’re older, I never really think about them passing. Now that I think about it, when we’re there, I’m very present. Just chatting with them, listening to their stories, and watching them interact with Hope.
On this morning’s visit we got some bad news.
The center’s maintenance man, who was just 39 years old, suffered a stroke and passed away yesterday. I didn’t know him. But we’ve seen him twice a month for over two years. He was always working and always smiling. So it hit me hard when I heard he had passed away.
It’s difficult to not think about the irony of the situation.
The center is filled with elderly seniors and the young maintenance man is the one who passes away first. It’s a sad reminder to enjoy each and every day, and a literal reminder that none of us is promised tomorrow, no matter our age.
I was grateful we were there this morning, as the seniors got the news, to provide a little extra consolation. As for me, I’m feeling sad, even though I really didn’t know him. But I’m also trying to use it as a reminder to stay mindful each and every minute of every day. I know it’s a challenge, but as with anything, I’m hoping practice makes perfect.