Years ago, a friend gave me the “The Miracle of Mindfulness” by Thich Nhat Hanh. I didn’t really get it; I skimmed through the pages and my mind drifted off until I placed it on a shelf and forgot about it. I realize now that my friend was tactfully trying to enrich my life by pointing out the reality that all we really have is NOW. At the time I was constantly living in the future: planning a vacation, daydreaming about summer, thinking about how my life would be perfect when I lost that last ten pounds. While fun in a way, that constant future thinking was causing me to miss out on all the juicy goodness of the present moment.
After about a month of going primal, I was chopping vegetables for dinner. I realized that I was really into chopping those veggies- I was absolutely loving the process of cutting them up into vibrant little pieces and layering them artfully into a salad bowl. It was so much fun! My husband came in from splitting wood with a similar realization: he’d had a blast swinging the maul and stacking wood piles. Chores were now so enjoyable! (Rewind ten years and envision a person who once rewarded herself with champagne before starting the dreaded chores, leading to an incident where the vacuum plummeted down the stairs and into the wall below. Her husband probably had to have a beer while he grudgingly fixed the hole in the drywall.)
I don’t know precisely what caused the shift to happen, but I have my suspicions. When we eliminated the toxins (grains, sugar, refined polyunsaturated oils) in our diet, approached exercise with a relaxed and playful spirit, limited screen time, and slowed life down we cleaned out all those unnecessary stressors that had been fogging our brains for years. We were left with an overwhelming sense of goodness and appreciation. There we were, enjoying the now. We didn’t need to go on a fancy meditation retreat to learn how to do this, it just happened naturally, with zero effort on our part!
I recently slid “The Miracle of Mindfulness” off my shelf. The first chapter is about washing the dishes to wash the dishes. Exactly. I totally get it now.