My daughter Violet and I just discovered a beautiful summer mindfulness practice! If you find yourself with a relaxing, laid back Saturday or Sunday- try this mindfulness challenge:
Spread a towel on a lawn in the sun in the late afternoon (after 4pm you won’t get sunburned, but it’s still hot enough to get really uncomfortable- the constant in this experiment.) Dress in shorts and a tank top or your bathing suit and lay on your back on the towel for 10-15 minutes. Leave your hands palms facing-up, spread slightly from the midline. I put a towel over my face to fight the glare.) Feel the heat without struggling against it. Feel the sweat beads rolling down your skin without drying them or scratching the ticklish sensation. Feel the sugar ants biting your skin without knee jerk reaction to smack them or at the very least brush them off. Can you do it? Can you stay with your breath and the sensations of what you feel WITHOUT needing the experience to be different? I invite you to try this mantra: “This is what this feels like,” when ants bite, heat builds and sweat rolls. Is the grass touching you anywhere and itching? Let it be what it is.
If you can accept the heat, accept the itchy, tickley drops of sweat rolling on your skin, accept the biting sugar ants: it will give you a solid base for the next time you’re truly uncomfortable and want to run from what you feel. In this way we can use our everyday mindfulness to prepare us as warriors for any tumult, confrontation, accusation, sadness or frustration that comes our way. We are constantly evolving, and every moment is a moment that shapes us.
Pema Chödrön says:
“Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape — all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain.”