Archive for mindfulness

Suddenness

Yesterday in New West I had lunch with friends and got a doggy bag with half a roast beef sandwich and a bunch of fries. Walking toward the Skytrain station I saw a couple of bedraggled guys and asked them if they wanted it. They said no, and then one of them pointed to an older, intoxicated fellow a few yards away and said “he might.” That third fellow said he did and reached out for the food. Then one of the original pair jumped over and yanked the bag from my hand: “Nothing for him!”

The third fellow wailed: “You took it from me!” That angry complaint was aimed *at me*, I realized with some fear. He started after me as I hustled up the stairs to the train. The stairs must have deterred him.

I’ll feel safe when I get on the train, I told myself. But I didn’t feel safe … for the rest of the day, unable to return to the quotidian habit of forgetting the suddenness that surrounds us.

Simpleness

My recipe for making people happy:

  • Tell parents that their infant is beautiful.
  • Tell neighbours that their dog is beautiful.
  • Tell children that their bikes are fantastic.

Facebook friends append some ingredients to my recipe:

  • Little kids also like to know that you love their sneakers.” (thanks to S.M.)
  • Also, tell them their lemonade is good. Buy a second cup.” (thanks to @bfwriter)

My favourite ‘mindfulness’ activity …

… Counting the container ships in English Bay while walking along the seawall. They hide behind other ships, emerge, recede into a faraway haze, disappear behind Stanley Park or UBC. In one walk there were eight at the start, by the Cactus Club, then thirteen right before I got to the pool on Second Beach. The counting discipline makes me feel strangely great, as my patient friends will attest.

Thanks to John Glionna for the photo.

You Are Here

YouAreHere

I’ve been here many hundreds of times, across the water from Vancouver’s Science World, yet apparently I have never been fully here, as in ‘YOU ARE HERE’. How did I miss this great sign?!

My teacher and friend Robert Creeley titled at least eight of his poems “Here.” It was the title of one of his very last published poems:

Up a hill and down again.

Around and in –

 

Out was what it was all about

but now it’s done.

 

At the end was the beginning,

just like it said or someone did.

 

Keep looking, keep looking,

keep looking.

And here is one from “Hello,” a book from Creeley’s mid-career:

 

Since I can’t

kill anyone

I’d better

sit still.

.

The opposite of talking

A friend called me a good listener the other day. I was happy to get this compliment; I work hard at listening. Not being clueless is a full-time activity for me.

I was reminded of the Fran Lebowitz quote: “The opposite of talking isn’t listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.”

Late Spring

LateSpring

Небо лежит с тобой.

The sky is with you.