I’ve started a daily practice of taking a walk first thing every morning (or at least MOST mornings), sans phone, sans ipod, sans anything but the city noise in the background and my brain noise in the foreground. The latter noise is the main motivating factor for these morning walks, and for the 5-10 minutes I spend sitting still and in silence afterwards.
Meditation is fairly new to me in terms of any consistent practice, and I’ve been advised to approach it with patience and openness and without judgment towards myself or the process. That was all very good, wise, and forward thinking advice because so far I’ve been impatient, frustrated, and pretty critical of the frankly astonishing number of irrelevant things and thoughts that seem to happen in my brain simultaneously and at every fraction of every moment.
Awareness of such things and thoughts is of course the first positive step in the direction of a calmer, clearer mind. Something I hope to continue to move towards, centimeter by centimeter, second by second.
In the meantime, I hold on to the small things that seem to work in small ways, one of which is noticing trees, and one tree in particular.
When I’m two steps out the door and I’ve already forgotten to focus, and my mind has sprinted off to chew on to-do lists and mull over what I’m going to say in this blog post and ask just how many bananas SHOULD I get at the store later because eight just wasn’t enough last time…I notice this tree, hanging out as it always does on an adjacent corner:
And goodness, it’s beautiful! Every time! And just for a second – often a split second really – my mind is back and present and has completely let go of lists and posts and fruit. I try to hold onto this split second and sometimes it lasts just a little longer.
Even when it doesn’t last though, it gives me hope. If I can do it for a split second, and for slightly longer than a split second, then maybe I can do it for even longer than that.
Practice, practice, practice.