What do you think about when you fold your laundry? When you are doing the dishes? When you are eating? Do you think about the 4 corners of the sheet that you are lining up? Do you think about the smell of the soap? Do you think about who planted the piece of broccoli that you bite into?
I was talking the other day to a friend. I told her that I felt busy, overwhelmed, out of control. That I was on a treadmill, going nowhere. In fact, I came home that day to run on my treadmill just so I could get a head start on the laundry.
My friend replied, “how do you choose your thoughts?”. Stumped. No answer. Should I be choosing? Why does it matter? How do I do it? What will happen if I do? Instead of choosing, I just keep going. Slow down? NEVER! Keep on keepin’ on. I think I flippantly replied back to my friend. Something witty, I am sure of it. After all, there are people out there that are feeling left out as a result of this new wave of practicing mindfulness. I don’t want to go down a path where I lose my edge—“that little bit of raggedness that for some of us is really the heart
of what makes us human.” I walked away and tried not to look back.
But, I couldn’t. I kept thinking about what my friend asked me. I could not come up with an answer. I read the card a dear friend—my modern day mystic—gave me with this quote:
“There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under my jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body with and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I’m going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life—whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts.”
Elizabeth Gilbert Eat Pray Love
I don’t do yoga. I do not meditate. I do not choose my thoughts. I do not pause to think about the stories that I am telling others or myself. For the most part, I do not think about what I eat. Like most things, I rush through the experience only to plan another. Chez Panisse to the French Laundry to Brian’s house to…
I want to. I want to be mindful and present. And, I will start practicing while I eat. How perfect, Thanksgiving is just around the corner.