At this time of year questions get asked from relatives who haven’t seen you for the year between festive events.
” So, what have you been doing with yourself?”
Doing; does this encompass all that has happened in one year? No. there is much more to life than doing. When asked at a job interview “Tell me about yourself”. It is a natural response to talk about the things we have accomplished by working or in education. Experiences in life are much more important.
“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend…”. James Taylor.
I think the essence of mindfulness is experiencing life.
I remember the first time I ever had Orange soft Drink (pop, soda, fanta, call it what you will). I experienced the love that radiated from my grandfather when he suggested that we walk across to the corner store to get one. When we entered the store and the little bell rang above the door to announce our entry, I was surprised. I had never been inside this shop and it was the first time I had experienced that sound.
My grandfather jiggled the coins in his pocket and bought out a few. We stood before the vending machine and I watched as he dropped the coin into the machine and I heard it clatter down inside the machine. Then a gear clanged, releasing the locking mechanism allowing my grandfather to shift bottles around inside the machine until he had the desired drink in place to lift it out.
From the view of a 4 year old whose eyes just saw above the lip of the refrigerated machine, it was a world of wonder. He lifted the bottle clear and the gears once again clanged to re-lock all other bottles in place. He held the bottle under the opener attached to the vending machine and opened the bottle for me. He reached onto the counter to get me a striped paper straw which he pushed in the neck of the bottle. Then he handed the bottle to me and told me to hold it with both hands as he lifted me into his arms to cross the road yet again.
I remember the smell of the soda, it was sweet and smelt of oranges. I heard the fizz of carbonated bubbles rising to the surface. I sucked on the straw and my small mouth was filled with the wonderful sensation of incredible taste and the bubbles swirling around my mouth, tingling my whole being. Then feeling the coolness as it slipped down my throat as I remembered to swallow.
My eyes crossed as I tried to watch the soda ascend the straw on the second suck on the straw. I saw the look on my mothers face and I saw her smile widen as I continued to consume my fruity delight. I was happy, so she was too.
A drink of soda, is more than just to quench the thirst. I felt love, I heard new sounds, I saw new sights, I enjoyed a new taste.
It is a time I remember in fondness. A time when I really experienced life.
Perhaps we need to approach life with the childlike wonder in all we do.
credit for picture… http://bonanzleimages.s3.amazonaws.com/afu/images/2708/8131/bon_003.JPG