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I can't quite go to bed

...because I wanted to say something about mindfulness.

I used to be so observant of the world. I think it was a kind of mindfulness, to be so very aware of everything around me. The nuanced beauty of the way the light hit the branches of a tree or the scent of honeysuckle or... Now I'm always so busy, and have been for ten, fifteen years. But it's slowly coming back to me.

I find myself moving more deliberately. Stopping to notice the way streetlamps cast umbrellas of pouring light down on the parking lot in the fog. Stopping to watch the sparkles of the ice on my car. There are more pauses lately. I'm not as enamored of the world as I was when I was fifteen, and I'm not as impressed by temporary beauty. I don't feel things as strongly as I did then; there just aren't the hormones racing through my body like there were then, and I'm not fighting so strongly for an identity. I kind of hope pregnancy is as fraught as its promised to be, because I miss that. Just for a little while, I want to be so in love with the world I can't think straight anymore. (ETA: NOT PREGNANT.)

I used to think, before puberty, that maybe I didn't feel emotions properly. I so rarely got upset about things. I think that was combination of many factors--and perhaps I didn't feel emotions properly. It's not like childhood was easy for me. But is it easy for anyone? My familial culture, which is a distillation of Prussian, Swiss and Dutch attitudes run through the immigrant-farmer wringer, is that we become more calm and determined in the face of adversity. I've spent a lot of time being calm.

But puberty hit, and even as calm as I was, I wrote these journals full of raptures about the roses or pansies or catmint I saw on the walk home from the bus-stop, or the noise of the frogs on the pond or in the trees, or the quality of the starlight outside my window. I still notice these things, and I'm noticing them more, but I don't feel them like I did.

It's different because none of it is for the first time, anymore; and these temporary beauties, fleeting as they are, are things I know will come again. It's hard to go home and write pages about them.

But still, I'm noticing things more again. I'm trying not to constantly hate winter, for example; I'm trying to notice the temperature variation between 7 degrees and 22, and notice the way it feels when ice chunks plop onto my face versus snow bullets spraying into my eyes... And not think so much about the drive, and how much I hate it.

Hm. No moral lesson here. That's just what's going on.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
ellameena
Dec. 24th, 2008 05:03 am (UTC)
I thought you had children already. Apparently I have you confused with someone else. Pregnancy and motherhood are *very* anti-mindfulness...but so worth it. :-)
merriehaskell
Dec. 24th, 2008 01:11 pm (UTC)
I don't have any biological children. I have a stepdaughter that I've lived with since she was 2, who's now 13.
ellameena
Dec. 24th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah, so you've got the Mom part, but haven't yet experienced the joys of preggo brain. :-)
alexandralynch
Dec. 24th, 2008 06:27 am (UTC)
This sort of mindfulness is a large chunk of my spiritual practice. I greatly value the person I am and the way I relate to the world when I do it.
asakiyume
Dec. 24th, 2008 07:12 am (UTC)
I think if you've ever once had that sensation of being so in love with the world that you can't think straight, then there's a high likelihood you'll feel it again.

You seem very, very mindful to me--mindful of shades of emotion. Your reflections on your feelings, in this very entry, are exactly that.

Congratulations on your pregnancy!
merriehaskell
Dec. 24th, 2008 01:12 pm (UTC)
no, no, not pregnant now.
asakiyume
Dec. 24th, 2008 01:23 pm (UTC)
Whoops--misunderstood! Sorry about that.

I can tell you've watched Homestarruner by your remark on your website (it's dot com!), so you'll appreciate Coach Z here--who, like me, has more than two problems!
stephanieburgis
Dec. 24th, 2008 07:45 am (UTC)
For me, pregnancy was fairly miserable in a physical sense - but then again, that certainly tied me down, made me stay in one place and look around, so there is an aspect of mindfulness to it. (Especially during the warm weather in the last trimester, when I really couldn't think much, and for the first time in years I just lay outside and basked in the sunlight without doing ANYTHING else at the same time - that was so weird for me, because I am really not a sunbather by nature!)

Actually having the baby, though, is much more of a promoter of mindfulness, especially in the first several weeks, because it forces you to be in the moment - you can't do anything but care for the baby minute-by-minute, you can't plan what's going to happen in an hour or later that day...either you go insane or become zen! (I alternate reactions by the day. BUT - it has been totally and completely worth it in every way, honestly, and better than I could ever have imagined beforehand.)

So, have I missed an announcement? Or is this your sneaky way of announcing it subtly? ;) If so, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
merriehaskell
Dec. 24th, 2008 01:12 pm (UTC)
Uhm, I think I'll go make an edit.
stephanieburgis
Dec. 26th, 2008 08:38 am (UTC)
Aha! Got it. :)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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