Mindfulness in Plain English

Book Notes

I f'ing love this book. If I could, I would have this as required reading for every school-aged kid (not just this country, every country). Well, no, I'd have it required reading for everyone, not just kids. Yeah. That.

I read this book a number of years ago after having it recommended to me by Tom Croucher. He had a stack of them at his place, and would hand them out when someone asked him for recommendations for books on how to meditate. I read the book, enjoyed it, practiced a bit, but wasn't nearly the student of the process that Tom is. Not then, likely not yet.

But when the student is ready, the teacher arrives. I've been more than a bit lost these last few years. I had the luck of being at the right place at the right time to help a friend through a rough patch, and he's returned the favor, reminding me that I will change only when I choose to change. And so, I picked up this book again.

Love this book. Highly recommended.

As is my way recently, parts of the book that caught my attention. This was hard, as pretty much the whole book had my engrossed attention.

It allows you to blow aside the illusions and free yourself from all the polite little lies you tell yourself all the time. What is there is there. You are who you are, and lying to yourself about your own weaknesses and motivations only binds you tighter to them.

Looking even closer


My first thought with these cards was, "Meh, the same as the first day's mindfulness cards," and was about to dismiss them, when I realized that, uh, so what if they are pretty much the same? All of mindfulness is pretty much the same, and can be boiled down to "Pay attention to the now." So, instead of dismissing the "Mindfulness - Look even closer" part of the card as "already done," I paid attention to the details today.

In particular, hey, I found a moment, I was MINDFUL of a moment, when I was beginning to be bored. It was, unsurprisingly, on an exercise machine. Surprisingly, it was while listening to an audiobook, which usually makes potentially boring exercising okay with me, since I'm multitasking.

Not today.

More Mindfulness Cards


I expect to stick with these mindfulness cards for less than a week, because I'm realistic like that with my expectations. Most definitely not going the 48 full days.

Today's card off the top of the deck is "Listen to the Body."

This one is so, so, so true: that one's body gives warning signs before a full-blown reminder to take care of one's self. I usually carry my stress in my shoulders, manifesting in headaches, but sitting too long one day (think "flight from Sydney") will cause back pains for days. Movement being the best cure for those particular back pains.

I don't believe I do a good job of listening to the subtle body signals. Perhaps today will be the point where that changes.


Mindfulness Cards


One of the Kickstarter projects I backed, back when I was backing regularly, was Cards for Mindfulness. They arrived last week, so I brought them up here to Portland with me for this week. I figured, if nothing else, they would be pretty to look at (I crack me up).

I opened the box this morning to check out the cards, and share them with the O's. The cards are oversized with a matte finish, not sealed. There are 6 cards in 8 categories, packed so that they were grouped into categories. I immediately sorted them into 6 groups of cards, each with 8 different categories in them, and pulled the first one off the top.

It was "There is always more."

Friends with this horror in my head?


I went to a learning mindfulness class this morning. It was the first of an eight class introductory series on the practice of mindfulness. 15 people had signed up for the class, which was to start at 9:15. By 9:13, only 6 of us were there. One guy showed up 15 minutes late. It happens, even when we try not to be late.

We all took yoga mats, set them on the floor, and sat down. I noticed the same dynamic in most introductory classes: everyone lined up in the back of the class room. I understand on an intellectual level why people do this, I've done it myself in the past. What I don't really understand is why adults do it in a classroom setting for classes they have chosen to take. Which means you should be completely unsurprised that I sat near the instructor, and talked directly with him. It's one of those, "wow, this is outside my comfort zone, I best go all in," sort of things, I guess.