I love Saturday mornings, especially when we go to the Farmers Market.
"If we leave at 8 am we’ll be back by ten” I suggest, “and have the whole day left to do other stuff."
Optimistic? Hmm we’ll see ...
The market is its usual bustling self. I buy luscious blood oranges from my favourite green grocer; organic kale and cone-shaped cabbage from Georgina, whose produce table sparkles with vitality.
Bonus indulgence: chocolate macadamia brownies, home-made by the talented Esther. (I must confess Esther’s goodies are the carrot that tip me out of bed early in the first place.) Piece de resistance: coffee at the classy local café, Gateway Fine Foods. I factor in 15-20 minutes or so for a coffee and a read.
“Damn, forgot my book” is my first thought on parking downtown. Not in the mood today for the weekend newspapers with their mountains of hype.
Plans and Expectations
In we go. The bright interior greets us; we spot friends at a big table and join them. I’m feeling chuffed that we’re sticking to schedule. All the chores done and after coffee we’ll be home in a twinkling.
Well, as they say, the best laid plans… (as it turns out, we won’t emerge for another hour).
Although I am enjoying the lengthy conversation (meandering from travel memoirs of the ‘70s to the sad crisis in the Middle East) part of me is resisting. I want to get home, remember? I want to have my day, the way I’ve planned it. The way I’m expecting.
But instead, we talk on and on.
Twiddling the Thumbs
Every time the conversation pauses slightly, I try catching my partner’s eye to make our departure (y’know what it’s like!) The catchy-eye attempts go on for a while. Unsuccessfully. His eyes never swim to mine at quite the right time.
Suddenly, somehow, I remember mindfulness. I remember that paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment is where satisfaction lies. I remember that anticipating the future kills the satisfaction of being in the moment.
(And just as importantly, I remember to savour the delicious coffee!)
So, for a short while (and because I’ve used up most of the being-where-I-don’t-want-to-be time on wanting-to-be-somewhere-else) I breathe easy and take in my surroundings. I immerse myself wholeheartedly in the conversation. I drink in my friends’ faces (more lined now than ever, smile creases). I devour the laughter. And happily surrender to being okay about where I am.
Phew. And actually feel relaxed.
On the way home, a special treat. Mindfulness headspace intact, I notice a flock of white birds overhead through the windscreen. My eyes follow; they soar skyward. For a brief moment, the underneath of their shapely bird bodies gleam in the sun.
What a moment! What a brief and glorious sight!
Rich reward. Now, if I hadn’t paused and returned to reality in the café, would I have had my wits about me in the car? Would I have noticed the birds? Seen the golden moment?
I doubt it. The rewards of mindfulness are bountiful. We sometimes just have to fight our habit of distraction to claim the prize.
Shakti Burke runs Mindfulness courses and workshops in her locality of the Northern Rivers NSW and teaches yoga in Kyogle and at Eden Creek.
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