by Beth Diane Bradley
IT’S happened twice. I’ve approached the door of my house, and pushed the button on my car key, expecting the door to open. The first time I thought maybe I was losing it, but decided it might be best to laugh it off. After it happened again, I read 3 articles on the care and feeding of the aging brain, and ate the recommended pound of blueberries and kale.
A couple of months ago, I was in a public restroom. While in the stall, I heard an electronic noise in the bathroom. I was preoccupied, which is my normal mental state – and assumed it was a toilet. As I walked out of the stall, thinking the toilet would automatically flush, I realized that was not the case. It was the towel dispenser that made the noise. Never mind what happens to me when I think the sink is automatic and it’s not — or it is, or … whatever.
My best friend says these things happen to me because I have a really good auto pilot. That sounds like a solid theory, but I will keep eating blueberries and kale, just in case.
I wonder where my auto pilot will take me next? I’m hoping it will be a more exotic place than a public restroom. Maybe I should give her my bucket list of travel destinations and find my passport.
In the meantime, I am trying to practice being more mindful. I’ve read this even works while doing the dishes. “Feel the water gently caressing your hands as you wash each tong of the fork” … well … I’m not there yet, and thankfully my dishes are usually clean, despite the fact that at least part of my mind is planning the next meal that will make them dirty once again.
I think my venture into mindfulness would be more successful by focusing on something in nature. I read about a grade school teacher named Bob White in Oregon who teaches children mindfulness by taking them out in a field, telling them to slowly approach a bird, follow it until it flies away, watching it until it disappears. He calls this approach “Ornithomindfulness.”
I think that would work for me. But after it disappears, I would ask my autopilot to follow the bird off into the wild blue yonder, and leave those dirty dishes behind for another day.
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