Last night, I was in the thick of it. I had just gotten home from the gym. It was late. I had lunches to make and pack, dishes to do, and a pie crust to whip up. In the flurry of it all, I noticed that I was checking my phone a lot. To respond to emails, but also to look at recipes, check Instagram, Facebook, the whole gamut. My brain was feeling a bit like sludge and I felt I might be channeling a robot. So I slammed on the brakes.
I do this thing sometimes where I say to myself, 'I am here." It's even more effective if it's said aloud. There is something about saying it which makes me stop in my tracks. Yes, I think to myself, I AM here; alive, well, aware. Then I make an effort to be super conscious of my hands: the presence and use of them, the ability of my hands to stir the pot, wash a plate, wipe the counter. I imagine what those activities would be like if one of my hands were missing. I think about how my hands, my arms, my body, are not in pain. Then I focus on colors, shapes and textures in front of me. I marvel at my sight and sense of touch. I stay away from my phone.
This is a sort of meditation through the menial tasks. Sometimes, it takes more energy to think this way. But otherwise, I find myself in sort of a haze at the end of the night, inflated by the sense of a completed to-do list, but already stressed and preoccupied about tomorrow. It's not the turn of a hamster wheel that tells the worth of my day, it's these moments of awareness.
There is something about picking fruit that puts me into a similar sort of meditation. It makes me aware of my eyes, scanning the shrubs for a ripe fruit. It makes me aware of hands, the ability to pick fruit off a branch. It makes me think about the wind and sun skimming the tress and my skin, the health of my body, the promise of a sweet fruit in my mouth.
I look hard at my daughter, who is wide-eyed and probably going through some of these thoughts realizations herself, and think, "I am here."
We would hand sloane blueberries to put in the bucket and tell her which ones she could eat and which ones she should put in the bucket. This is her face after Ken handed her a few berries and told her to put it in the bucket. Obviously, she wanted to hear something different.