Thursday, April 19, 2007


I've been thinking a lot about mindfulness lately. I just completed an enlightening three-day workshop with Jack Blackburn, and during these three days we spent some considerable time "presencing" ourselves, a term Jack has coined. To me, presencing is a way to become more awake and to see and hear fully, consciously, and deeply.

Each day, after some meditation and body awareness exercises, we took a walk around the neighborhood and were asked to notice our inner experiences (inside our bodies) and outer experiences (how we interacted with the world). On my walk, I noticed how the grasses and leaves looked so green -- almost electric green -- and how the sounds of loud garbage trucks intrigued me rather than disturbed my senses. These walks felt like they woke me up to spring and to my own season of emergence and growth.

In her amazing book, Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration from Women Who Write, Gayle Brandeis writes, "It is easy for us to sleepwalk through our everyday life. Our schedules can become routine, so taken for granted, that we forget to pay full attention to every moment." On my workshop walks, I noticed every color, shape, texture, and smell. I noticed that I rarely looked down at my feet while I walked (something that I often do to try and distance myself from the impact of the world), and that my body felt calm, full, and awake.

So, in honor of mindfulness, I offer this exercise from Fruitflesh:

"Choose an activity you do every day -- slicing fruit for your children's lunch, brushing your teeth, washing your hair, checking the mail, feeding the goldfish--and enter it with mindfulness. Try to be aware of each movement of your body, each sensation, each flicker of thought. Enter the activity as if it were for the first time; enter it as if it were a dance. See if you can discover anything new inside your regular routine when you break it down, break it open. Find a way to make it fresh on the page, in all its everyday glory."

Enjoy giving new life to your everyday routine!