Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mindful--Oh, look...a bird!--ness

Mindfulness: not just for Buddhists anymore. Or Jedi, for that matter. It's therapeutic, healthy, calming, spiritual and prescribed for everyone, from nursery schools to nursing homes.

I have a hard time with it. With being present in the moment. My mind skitters, thoughts ping around like a well flipped pinball, the monkey mind break dances, and I can't find my keys.

So what?

Except for the keys, does it really matter?

Well, first of all, I really WOULD like to know where my damn keys are.

Second, though not really second, except for coming after the first, but actually first in importance, is that I don't want to leave--die--without having actually been here.

Maybe I should have listed it first without trying to be funny about the keys? (I do worry about you getting bored, deciding to check your email one more time, or clicking up Solitaire.)

The Dodgers are playing and J.E. and I are watching. James Loney is up. Bottom of the 9th, 2 out 3-2 in favor of the Cardinals. If you follow baseball you already know what happened. Before I type very many more letters I will too. Loney steps back, it all rests on him. The fans are clapping to a beat, now the cheers are rising.

Loney swings, connects--fly ball, caught.

Game over.

J. E. and I say it together--shit!! Or did we? Maybe we each just thought it or I thought it or said it and imagine that he said it,too. But if I write we said "shit!" at the exact same time, that will be what happened, the remember when story. Because the moment itself is gone and the only recording is in my neurons or whatever it is that stores memories in the brain and what my fingers type.

The now is this breath, not the next breath or the last breath. I guess there is really no then and really no will be. Just the now. I know you can't step into the same river twice. Some days I'm not sure about once. And sometimes I think it's all one, the rivers, my foot, the stones under my foot, all that flows and all the appears to be still. Transitory and transcendent, separate and woven tightly together. (And, yes, I do know--thank you very much--that this is the 14 year level of man, that's deep.)

Which means that particular moment passed and I was in an imagined river not here at all . The monkey tosses words in the air, watches them fall, and, and, oh, man, that's deep.

Sometimes in the moment I think about lunch and wonder whether anyone has made coffee.

What is actually around me?

There's a computer screen in front of me and pixels form at the command of my fingers on a keyboard and the pixels shape letter that my mind, and yours, process into words.

On my left there's a coffee travel mug, stainless steel on the bottom, with reflections of the lights overhead. Vertical lines that seem to float inside the metal, not on it. The lid is maybe two and a half inches of black plastic. When I remember to push the button thing on top I can turn it upside down without a drop of coffee spilling. I don't always remember to do that but the amount of coffee spilled is still much less than dumping over an entire cup.

A brown prescription bottle with a label around it and a "push down & turn" message on top. It's a medication that I won't take--offered by my cardiologist when he thought my heart condition was an anxiety attack. Well, I was pretty damned anxious when the various docs first thought I might be having a heart attack and then thought I was an overly anxious middle-aged woman. Don't know how they thought middle aged female anxiety could fake an EKG, but what do I know? (Lots actually but it's the sort of phrase used in those kinds of sentences.) The pills sit there because the color of the pills inside the bottle is different than what the label says it should be. A big hmmm. So of course I've been Googling with no resolution and then figured out I could call my daughter-in-law the pharmacist and she would know.

Now my mind just tripped back to Maui where she and my son live. I haven't met the new pup that keeps Kai company there....

Just took off the bracelet that's been protecting my tendinitis plagued left wrist. Didn't even think about it--the right hand just reached over, pulled it, off the alternating brown and white pieces on stretchy string which makes the bracelet a kind of brace--my ex brought it to me from Africa. The bracelet, of course, not the wrist.

Yes, he went on safari with his girlfriend. I was wildly envious because I always imagined going on safari, though not so much as a tourist, on a bought and paid for excursion. Maybe as a journalist, a writer, I dunno--as Isek Dineson?

Time to get the coffee I just heated out of the microwave. And I didn't even mentioned I had left my desk.

Funny. I think the medication I take for the bipolar thing slows my brain down enough to think more carefully. Take more care. Instead of just dumping the coffee into the travel mug (for it's long journey from the kitchen to my desk in the lobby) then wiping up the dribbles on the counter--if I noticed them--I poured it over the sink where dribbles don't matter.

There's actually nothing here that I just see. Photos, of course, are heavy with meaning. To my right is a picture of my parents--had to be taken before 1983 cause my dad went into the hospital on January 19th and never left until he died on April 2nd. And then it was only his body they transported out of there. My brother took the nose clip oxygen thing --still hissing air--from under his nose, carefully removing the thin plastic tubing from around dad's ears. The nose plugs and tubes had irritated his skin (and him). When the morphine was heavy in him, he'd try to brush it away like an annoying bug, then tear at, even, at times, succeeding.

"At least we can get rid of this damn thing now."

I look at his picture and see where my slightly crooked features come from, I see my brothers' faces. My mother looks--slightly anxious? annoyed?--maybe just uncomfortable because she always disliked her picture being taken She died in 1996--March 24th. My dad's sister says "Springtime's not a good time for us."

It's true, most of the family deaths happen in spring. I wonder if I'll die in the spring.

Of course what I'm actually seeing is a flat paper covered with an emulsion that through some sort of magic of light and chemistry is turned into paper with colors that my brain, through information provided by the rods and cones of my eyes, perceives as my parents.

You, of course, would perceive something different, but it's unlikely you could look at the 4 x6 paper and see only colors. Nana and Granpopper? Mom and Dad. An older man and woman? You might just see that. Two people, man and woman, standing next to one another, giving little other information. You might not even be sure of the relationship. Just two people next to each other looking straight ahead at the photographer.

Who might have been me.

My picture dad's probably around the same age I am now--he died when he was 64--so my mother is five or six years younger in the picture than I am now.

Next to the picture on my desk, a roll of Scotch tape, a square of ceramic tile to put coffee cups on, and. a foot away from that--a coffee cup.

I can see my keys from here.

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