On my walk this morning, I kept finding my mind wandering to what I wanted to get done today. I am mindful of practicing mindfulness and being in the present moment, though, so I repeated a quote from one of my favorite movies (Peaceful Warrior) to bring me back to the present:
Where am I? I am here.
What time is it? Right now.
I use this phrasing quite often. It seems that I’m often writing a To-Do List in my head. This phrase reminds me that I am not in the past; I am not in the future. I am only in this moment, right now. There is nothing else to do right now but enjoy the present moment.
I always love reminders to be present. Thich Nhat Hahn is one of the first teachers from whom I learned mindfulness. In the first book of his that I read, as an example he wrote about being mindful when washing dishes: feeling the softness of the soap bubbles, the warmth of the water, the shape of the plate, the slipperiness of its surface. (It so happened that shortly afterward I was washing dishes after a Thanksgiving meal and a relative asked me how I could stand doing so many dishes. I told him about being mindful and I’ve been teased ever since about “being one with the plate.” I think you have to know your audience when you share things like this.)
At the monastery where Thich Nhat Hahn lives, he'll sometimes ask the novices working in the kitchen "What are you doing?" to remind them to be mindful and present instead of wandering away in their thoughts as they work; to notice what they are doing, the things around them, the songs of the birds, the warmth of their bodies. My yoga teachers teach this mindfulness, too, reminding us to notice how a little adjustment of an upper arm opens up more space, how fully exhaling allows the body to move a little further into a pose, how our bodies feel after a round of Sun Salutations: our breath, body temp, suppleness. Little noticings that make us more aware of the union of breath, mind and body.
Yesterday, I took my granddaughters for ice cream. As we were leaving, I pointed out to the oldest that I liked the flooring, which had intermittent squares of blue, green and pink. "You always notice the smallest things, Nana," she said to me and smiled. I try.