As a student of yoga and its affiliated friendly studies for some 17 years, it’s been interesting to see the rise of “Mindfulness” lately. Suddenly and simultaneously people are determined to be snapping away on Snapchat (whatever that actually means #Iamagrandma) AND “in the moment”. I totally get it–when the pendulum swings its way too far in one direction, eventually we push it, by force if necessary, in the other. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea–stop worrying about the past and fretting about the future…”Live For and In the Moment.”
But so often, like the big bully kid pushing the swing higher and higher, we push too far and Johnny falls off completely. The pendulum swings waaay past where we intended (#Brexit).
I’ve experienced some beautiful moments when I am transported–through a memory or a sensation or a smell–to a place I once loved to be. Far from taking me “out of”, it enhances the moment.
Or I’ve found myself in a café, as I just was last night, minding my own ordering a salad when all of a sudden, I am transported to another time and place with the single strum of a bass guitar.
“Low, low, low…”
And there’s his voice, unmistakable: Mr. Stipe. And I am in my ’59 purple VW Bug—it’s the dead of a Montana winter and can see my breath and I’m trying not to freeze to death as I drive the 15 minutes to Charles M. Russell High School. The next song is—the actual next song and I realize they are playing the entire album from start to finish. In my mind it is a tape—a cassette tape, not scotch (#notforMillennials). I drive more slowly so I can time it just right–pulling up to the parking lot just as the final notes of “Near Wild Heaven” sound. I am almost, but not quite late. Always.
My salad comes. I am simultaneously in two worlds. I can see my breath and I’m sweating from the humidity of the Yucatan penninsula. I am eating salad while racing to my locker. My friend and locker-neighbor Travis is there, almost late, too. We sing the first verse of Evita and part ways.
“Don’t cry for me Argentiiiina…the truth is, I forgot my homework…”
Such happiness…the tingling kind. The marriage of nostalgia and present moment.
“Ahhh….” There it is, Life.
Staying in the moment is the idea, right? But what about those moments where a song or a smell transports you? And you’re MORE in the moment than you were before? Simultaneously out of and in.
Last night at La Hoja Verde—singing along to songs I know better than my own story…the note to each subsequent tune recorded into my ear like audio tattoos. Wind me up and let me go, Mr. Stipe…
I was the happiest human in a 10 km radius…if not more. Shiny Happy People–shiny happy me.
To live in both worlds at once.
This is also Mindfulness.