Monday, February 25, 2019

Mindfulness

I have heard the term mindfulness used a fair bit around me since the accident. Then a friend pointed out that perhaps, I'm abbreviating here, mindfulness is actually gratitude. I can't say I'm sure that one excludes the other but the point was that a better description of my state of mind might be "gratitude."
I am not fond of quoting definitions but in this case allow me to make an exception to my rule...from Wikipedia to keep it simple:
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training.
Keeping that description in mind I don't see any mention of gratitude so perhaps there is a distinction worth bearing in mind.
I mentioned to a friend that my brush with death changed my outlook considerably however it hasn't changed everyone else's! This tends to leave me out of step. Everyone can see my physical improvement, my ability to walk with a cane, my relative independence at home and my increased hours at work, now 32 per week. But inside my head the things that were so positive for me are impossible to see and harder to explain.
Gary's description of "gratitude" fits the bill I think, much better than "mindfulness." Which still leaves me with a difficult explanation to offer as to how one can be grateful for a calamitous injury...And that's where one has to be aware of the process of recovery. That's where gratitude comes in, thanks to all those who took the time to make it all a bit easier, the visits, the mail, the conversations.
However outside of the gratitude there is the simple pleasure of being alive. My dog is grateful to see me and expresses it much more than he did before. I find Rusty is attached to me very tightly these days, a form of gratitude I'm sure. Mindfulness? who knows.
But there again I am mindful as best as I can be in a world not dedicated to meditation and and introspection. I try to be aware of each day lived,a day that was almost taken from me. When I consider how easily I might not be here I have to be aware of the passage of that every day. Mindfulness even at a crude level is inherent to my every day life. As an extension of both sentiments I have far less patience with myself  on those occasions I don't live up to my self imposed requirements to appreciate every single day.
However I am also very aware that others haven't had this harsh lesson dished out to them and they aren't aware of this evolving thought process in my head. Avoiding people vexatious to my spirit has become more important to me these days. Life's too short to be around assholes is the short version. Yet in the spirit of gratitude how much allowance do I award them, how much string do I unspool for them? Do I just cut and run? It's an interesting dilemma for me as I keep asking myself how often do I forgive myself for coming up short? The answer has to be that I forgive myself endlessly and have therefore the obligation to do the same for others. Forgive them for  annoying me? Sure, but perhaps one can be mindful silently, in an interior dialogue.
Mindfulness and gratitude.What a lot to think about.