mindfully to the mailbox

i’m trying hard to be here. it’s difficult. i have a great deal of practice not being present. my body is in the here, but most of my attention is elsewhere; it’s seldom on the now. i suspect that’s why i have difficulty remembering names and anecdotes when i’m with other people. it’s hard to take in information when you only attending with a small portion of your brain.

i’m not here when i’m by myself either. i’m almost never fully here, in fact. it doesn’t matter what i’m doing, whether i’m reading, sitting, or exercising. i’m always a little bit gone. i’ve decided to try to not do that anymore. i’m ready to try and be more mindful all the time, not just for those ten minutes of practice.

i’ve avoided doing it, in part, because of fear. i’m afraid of what will happen, what i’ll feel if i let myself be fully in the moment. i’m beginning to loathe, however, the feeling nestled down in my gut, the one that tells me that i’m skating through life, neither impacting nor being impacted.

i went for a walk up to the mailbox this afternoon. the first few steps from the front door across the summer crispy grass were done by rote, utilizing the tunnel vision i’ve perfected for when i’m out. i see my path and nothing else, and i see it as though it were somewhat distant, as my brain starts to follow a line of thought that takes me elsewhere. somewhere i can’t be harmed or frightened, except via my own imaginings. this time, however, i pulled myself back. i remembered. mindfulness. mindful walking.

i slowed my pace, took a deep inhale and exhale, and started to look around. more than that, i started to see.

the house two doors down that recently sold and currently sits empty, the house that i passed daily for nine years, has landscape roses in the front yard. big and beautiful pink ones that i never noticed before. they’re old and well-established; they obviously weren’t snuck in to confound me. i just didn’t see. it’s somewhat shocking, to realize how unobservant i’ve been.

the trees in the distance at the top of the hill aren’t uniform. i would glance their way as i walked or drove out of the neighbourhood but the details didn’t sink in. i assumed they were of a type. it turns out they aren’t all spruces. they aren’t even all evergreens. it’s a forest back there and i never knew.

the neighbour on the corner has carved his front hedging-cedars into the shapes of dog bones. a shocking number of people leave their outside lights on all day. the cheapskate in me is offended. a great many cars seem to have leaks in them of one type or another. i wonder why their owners don’t get them fixed.

every time i started to drift away from reality, i pulled myself back by breathing in and out, and focusing on what was immediately in front of me. i realized, as i closed the mailbox and turned to head back home, that i could walk this route every day and it would still take a lifetime to appreciate all the little details. to see the bits and pieces of the world that i traditionally ignore.

i realized too, as i mounted the steps back to my front door, that i felt good. i felt better than i usually do after venturing out into the world. it was nice, the calmness running through my veins. it was nice, the sense of connection. i don’t expect it to last, though i wouldn’t complain if it did, but i feel is good, so much so that i plan to walk up to the mailbox mindfully again tomorrow.

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