This morning, on my early morning run ( I run on a path through wilderness, on the mountain behind my home, with my dogs), I suddenly found my chest bursting with hope and beauty. The sun rise, peaking over the mountain ahead of me, lit the sky in tangerine, turquoise, rose and Chartreuse streaks. It was the most beautiful site. Had I not stopped my mind, paused and breathed, I’d have run right home, having missed the thrill of hope that filled my being for a fleeting moment.
Often, mindfulness saves me for completely different reasons. I volunteer at an art gallery. My tour partner and I guide school children through the exhibits and teach an art activity at the end of the tour. On a recent tour, we had the class of children sitting on the floor, discussing sculpture. Particularly, how some sculptures tell a story. “Does anyone remember when they’ve been told a story by someone? Perhaps a grandparent?” The children were asked. There were a few shy nods and then quiet. It was a class of quiet, very well-behaved children. And then, suddenly, one special needs child, about aged 12, put up a hand. The student wanted to share a story. In all earnestness, the child, quite seriously, said: “When I was a baby, I had to go to the hospital because I had poop stuck in my bum.”
Well, that did it. It was, so simply, not what anyone expected to hear in the quiet, serious art gallery setting. And me? It struck me as so funny, I had to bite my lip and look at the floor. That wasn’t enough though, I was on the verge of full on giddiness. What to do with a class of children, parents, teachers and gallery workers surrounding me? I cleared my mind, instantly, using meditation techniques I’ve practiced for years. I swept all thought from my mind and allowed none into it until well after the children’s faces no longer held residual smiles. Saved by mindfulness.