The Best Time for Mindfulness
Ah, the morning commute...
Brake lights and giant trucks. Concrete, orange cones, exhaust and so much traffic. This is not a time for an exhilarating rush of speed as you cruise down the freeway. Oh no. This is a time for cars swerving in and out of lanes trying to find an open space, for brakes slamming, horns blaring and angry gestures from a community of drivers who are all going in the same direction.
And they're late.
It's easy to find moments of mindfulness on the weekends. When I go to the mountains and am surrounded by the beauty of nature, staying present feels effortless. If I find myself lost in thought on the trail, all it takes is a glimpse of light on the water or the scent of earth to bring me back.
But this scenery is a maze of overpasses, tunnels and giant billboards. There are industrial buildings packed in smoky city style, with the occasional glimpse of water and the iconic rainbow swash. For those of you not from Boston, that's the giant gas tank painted with large stripes of color which brightens up this section of the interstate.
I am feeling low level frustration at having to ride the brake with the news playing in the background. Did you know that you can simultaneously plan for the workday while replaying old conversations and imaging new endings?
It is at this moment that a break in the traffic reveals a golden sunrise, shimmering on the water. Liquid peace tucked away between the buildings and cars.
::Imagine a photo of the sunrise here. Then be proud of me for not taking a photo while driving::
That glimpse is enough to bring me into the present moment. And as the curve of the freeway quickly hides the sunrise from view once again, I notice my breathing, the brake lights, the cars and the signs. With a slow deep breath, I take that time to be in my commute. Not to judge it, push against it or wish it away. Just to notice it and breathe.
It's possible I might have found myself back to rehearsing future work conversations before the commute came to an end. Hey, that's why they call it practice. But every time I find one of these "mountain moments" in the ordinary, it's easier to return.
I don't want to live for the weekends. Today I commit to bring the mountains back home with me, every day, moment by small moment.
So, when is the best time for mindfulness?
I suspect that just might be the secret of life.
But, yeah, you already knew that.