Saturday, January 16, 2010


There's a way of being that I accomplish sometimes, I want to accomplish it more. A way of sitting with exactly what is happening, of gently pushing away the impetus to be doing something, or about to be doing something. It's all in the trying. I notice it most when I'm with my cats, though sometimes I have to narrate it to myself.
"I am sitting here. I am sitting here with Odista. I am petting the kitty." It sounds silly, but it works. Odista has this way of walking me around the yard, pausing for a moment and requiring some communication from me. Most often it takes the form of a small pet, just a stroke. We are experiencing this together. We are both here. Her head arches up to meet my hand in a way that is quietly affecting. We pause and look around for a second or two more, then she steps off in a new direction. I follow. Sometimes we sit, she first and me following. Sometimes we sit or lie for minutes, hours, sometimes only for a few seconds. There is some kind of communication going on, but I am innocent of its import. I must attend fiercely yet gently to receive even a moment of its grace.
This is different from the moments to hours when I simply sit with the cats, going about my own business, patting or ignoring them by turns. Reading, drinking coffee, talking, staring into space, watching television; I am involved but not participatory in our connection. When I am aware and mindful of our shared experience, I am simply existing in the moment, waiting to have it show me what it will. I haven't decided what the moment is about or what it will lead to, I am waiting, participating but not directing. It happens in seconds, some running into each other to create larger chunks of time, some insulated on each side by seconds or minutes of self-absorption or simple non-awareness. Sometimes paying attention to the mindfulness of it extends itself, sometimes it disrupts.
The other example of when it happens is when I'm working hard at something, manual labor or mental. I paradoxically may be unaware that my awareness has shifted and I am living in the moment, for the moment. Sometimes I awaken to it with joy, sometimes I notice it only by its ending. I'm experiencing a kind of practice and discipline to it that I am unaccustomed to. It is disturbing and pleasant, alternately and then simultaneously. I am intrigued. I want more, but am unsure how to proceed. Calling it doesn't always work, nor does holding on to it. I will practice. I will listen.