I’ve just started a game of cards with my teenage son. It’s Jim Rummy, a game we’ve enjoyed together since he was seven.
In the old days we’d travel by train and play to the tilt and lean of the carriage. He reminds me how I’d pretend to mistakenly put down the very card he needed. “How did I fall for that!” he moans.
Tonight we play in front of the old fuel stove. A bright orange fire burns noisily in the grate. We balance the cards on a blue stool between us. It’s potentially a scene of gratification and contentment, yet ...
Yet I want to get upstairs to post something on Facebook. And do more planning of my upcoming mindfulness course. The paradox: my mind lured away by the promise of gratifying work on the subject of mindfulness, I lose my mindfulness.
I’m stuck with wanting. Wanting. Wanting to be elsewhere. Forgetting to be here. In this precious, brief time. With a magical youth straddling childhood and beyond. Whiskers on his sweet chin.
I’ve made the commitment, so I play on. One game, two, three …. seven, eight …
He wins, I win. Run of spades, hand of jacks. Tens fly by, aces accumulate. It’s kind of hypnotic. It’s good: it slows me down.
Time goes on and I relax into the game itself. It happens naturally, without particular effort. Relaxing, I let go my hold on what’s-coming-next. Upstairs and all that. Internet and plans.
Baa, who cares. This is nice, this is easy. This is where I want to be.
We give it a name: mindfulness, but it doesn’t have to be called that. It’s simply being happy to be undistracted in the present. It’s all about feeling at ease.
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