I would be remiss if I didn't initiate a mindfulness blog with some words about mindlessness. I am reminded daily about my own tendencies to not pay attention and to not be present, despite my efforts and personal investment in mindfulness.
It is hard to see this more glaringly than in this example from last week. There was a small bag of baby carrots left in the fridge and I really wanted to eat them with my lunch. So I took them out of the fridge and got distracted with something else. When I returned to my carrot craving, I couldn't find the bag. Of course, I blamed my husband, Brendon who eats carrots constantly. There was no other explanation for the disappearance of the carrots. And then I moved on.
A few days later, Brendon gleefully announced that he found the bag of carrots in the freezer. They were now useless. The mystery had been solved. He was off the hook. And I was left with yet another example of how much I am still learning to pay attention in the moment.
I had to chuckle. The same day that the carrots were discovered, I received my box of Meeting the Moment books from my publishing company. The book was finally in my hands after many years of breathing, writing and revising the mindfulness principles and practices that are so near and dear to my heart. And there I was, face to face with my own mindless tendencies.
I have never bought into the idea that we "arrive" at something so fundamentally challenging and important as living mindfully. Instead, I view this as a lifelong journey. The best I can do is take every reminder and lesson that I learn along the mindfulness path as a gift for the road. And I try to never forget that kindness, self-compassion and humility are my best travelling companions.
It ends up that finding carrots mindlessly placed in the freezer was an important reminder of humility, an aspect of my mindfulness practice that I sometimes overlook. Humility reminds us to be kind and compassionate to ourselves (and to others when we choose to blame, as I did). It brings us back to the basics when we think we have it all mastered. And it reminds us of our common humanity, including the mindless moments that we all share despite our best efforts.
Humility can be our ally if we're willing to accept ourselves as we are. At the very least, our humble moments help to ensure that we never stop trying.