The Sirs…my fur-kids. They look adorable do they not? Sweet and docile, playful and affectionate. I love them, spoil them and they reciprocate in dog-kind. Wherever I go, there they are. As I write this, Teddy is sharing my chair, fast asleep despite the fact that half of my body is no longer on the seat. It’s ok – he’s comfortable and I think it’s cute. Archie is snoring with his head on my left foot. True, my foot fell asleep about twenty minutes ago, but why disturb him? In my efforts to live in the moment, this is one of those times when my attention is drawn to the comfort of their presence, the clickety-clack my nails make on the keyboard, the hum of the dishwasher. It’s all good..
Without defining it as a New Year’s resolution per se, I have decided that I need to be more conscious of being in the moment. Anticipating the future and re-assessing the past are exercises in mental frustration, and frankly leave no part of me more firm and toned as a result. ‘Shoulds’ and ‘coulds’ permeate my internal running monologue, punctuated with “what were you thinking?”, “what are you going to say?”, “are you crazy-stupid or just crazy?”. The absolute, breath-taking awesomeness arrives when I invite myself to shut up and just notice the moment in which I find myself. And on the rare occasions when I do, I feel really, really good. So I’m trying – which includes those times when trying just doesn’t work…
I usually bring the dogs into the bedroom when I take a shower. Archie comes into the bathroom and wedges himself between the toilet and the wall (don’t ask me why for it involves a lot of grunting and contorting on his part) and sleeps, well, like a dog – from the moment the shower spray is turned on through all other activities until the moment when the hair dryer is turned off. Sir Theodore sleeps on the bed (I usually put cnbc on for him, for it could put the most alert being to sleep after a while). Such machinations buy me peace, for if Sir Archibald is in repose, he does not see the leaf blowing by the window which elicits excited, contagious barks. Ted starts barking too (though he doesn’t know why). Typically they’re not big barkers – but when they see something that has the potential to be transportive, forget it. We’ve got a cacophony of headache-inducing proportion.
But yesterday was such a quiet day, and I was feeling so out of sorts (have you ever wondered what ‘in sorts’ means? Sorry, there I go again), I just turned the shower handle all the way to ‘hot’ and waited for the heat and steam to ease the chills that were alternately visiting my body after the dripping sweat cooled on my skin. “A perfect moment”, I thought to myself. “Just take in this delicious sensory experience, the feel of the water on your skin” (hot enough to feel like pin pricks but not so hot to be considered pin pricks of torture), “even if you can’t smell your shampoo, enjoy the luxurious lather on your hair – go ahead and make a mohawk”…I was getting as into the moment as a flu-infected person could. I even began to sing “Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do”. The acoustics are fantastic.
And then all hell broke loose.
Archie fought his way out from his self-imposed wedge and charged downstairs barking as if he was the welcome committee for the Martians who just happened to pull into the driveway. Teddy, less intrepid but definitely supportive of his buddy, began jumping all over the bed (after all, it is far safer to bark from a reasonable distance until you determine if whatever-it-is is friend or foe). To paraphrase a different song – I had let the dogs out.
“Let it go Mimi, be in the moment”, I insisted. Archie was bordering on the apoplectic – whatever was there, it was big. In response, I opened my eyes just as a cascade of shampoo fell into my eyes. Teddy came running into the bathroom insisting that without my intervention the world as we know it would cease. “Breathe deep..if this was Andy he wouldn’t even notice – take your time.” My heart began to beat more quickly. I began racing to rinse my hair (an impossible task), scrape the razor across my knees (don’t try this) and complete this soothing experience which had quickly turned into a clip from a Three Stooges movie. With blood dripping from my leg, eyes abraded from shampoo and a chorus of enthusiastic barks telling me to hurry up, I grabbed my robe and tore downstairs leaving a trail that would make it easy for CSI to figure out what happened when they ultimately found me sprawled at the bottom of the stairs.
UPS delivered a pair of sneakers. The box was left in the garage.
Of course, the boys settled down as soon as I retrieved the package. They resumed their original positions and were blissfully dreaming in puppyland before I pulled myself back upstairs. “Ah Grasshopper”, I thought, “You blew this big time”.
So the universe brought me a lesson along with my new sneakers. Keep the canine distractions locked in the room with me? Well, duh. But more importantly, if you really want to be in the moment you have to work at it. You have to keep your eyes closed when shampooing your hair (which is another way of saying that a moment is best savored when you don’t disturb it). And you really do have to acknowledge that serendipity, UPS delivery people and happenstance can test your best efforts. Don’t let it deter you – give the present it’s due and if you get distracted, you might as well laugh and try again.