Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Two Step

I love the challenge of a mindfulness exercise. I love what one aims to teach and I love what I learn—and accept that they are rarely, if ever, the same thing.

Today’s mindfulness exercise is The Two Step. I set out this morning with instructions to enter every room with my left foot first and to exit every room with my right foot first. Sounds silly, sounds simple.

You would think—unless you have to think.

If you have to think, there is a break in your step. There is a pause just before you enter a room when you are forced to concentrate on putting the correct foot over the threshold. The split second pause fills with nothing except attention to your step. Anything you may have been thinking before you reached the doorway is mute. There is only left foot or right foot. There is only—mindfulness.

This Two Step mindfulness exercise today has kept me hopping, has certainly kept me practicing mindfulness throughout the day, caused me to trip a couple of times and also to be mistaken for someone who ‘put a few back’ over lunch.

I expected all of that.

What I didn’t expect was the reminder of the ‘purposeful pause’ --The notion that at every given moment we are afforded the luxury of pausing. That there is always a moment right before we act, before we speak, before we answer, ask or judge where we can (and should) take a breath, a pause and consider the next step before we take it or the next word before we speak it. There is a pause right before we make a move in which there is no move. In that pause rests the future of argument or agreement, apathy or benevolence, the ability to make a difference or to make a point. The purposeful pause is always present. It is the split second you always have to choose; the moment that determines your move and the direction of each event that follows.

Now maybe it was a potential conflict with a teenage daughter and the breath I took right before avoiding it that really hammered the point of the ‘Purposeful Pause’ home. Either way…

A note of gratitude today for the reminder to ‘Watch my Step’