Wednesday, July 1, 2015

On Being Mindful

The being mindful movement is still in full swing. It pulled up a chair at the dinner table and it's made itself at home. It seems to be everywhere I go. It tags along on a walk-around in the back yard; it's with me when I vacuum--reminding me that I won't drag the vacuum back over my toes if I'm mindful of what I'm doing; I'm more mindful of people I pass and  interact with when I go out. This being mindful can be a full-time job if I pay attention, but no matter how mindful I think I'm being I still fall short of being fully aware. I forget things. As we age surely our lists of stuff that needs remembering or recalled reaches a tipping point, and in as a way to not stress over it, we find comfort in using words and phrases such as "whatever, what-cha-may-call it, thingamajig, thingamabob," and my current favorite, "disremember," as in "I disremember her being there." 

My desktop dictionary defines mindful this way:
mindful |ˈmīndfəladjective [ predic. ] conscious or aware of something: we can be more mindful ofthe energy we use to heat our homes.DERIVATIVESmindfully adverb
It's simply paying attention. I think it using it in bold face became more exotic as part of a movement to revitalize a word we've become so familiar with that we've lost its initial meaning and  value. Like the word beautiful. We've over-used, misused, and it abused it to the point that it has lost almost all of its own sweetness and special power. I don't love my clogs. I do love my cats. I don't love writing letters. I derive great pleasure from writing letters. I've never been fully mindful. Who has? In order to, I'd have to be super conscious of everything and everyone everyday. I love unexpected moments of mindfulness as much as I do the consciously mindful ones. Don't you? And recent exceptional moments of mindfulness occurred yesterday when I sat in the car reading those precious letters so fresh from my post office box. I'm still savoring how good that felt.
It rained again today. I was especially mindful of how tires on the cars in front of me splashed water over the curbs; it arced as gracefully as a ballerina's tutu when she bends to touch the floor. You know how that froth of tulle looks so pretty . . . Better yet, it reminded me of stomping puddles to make the water splash as high as little my girl feet could. In no time at all I was back to yellow galoshes and being carefree in the rain. My parents had the time and the mindfulness to allow their children to play in the rain before our lives became too full of don't, shouldn't and you might catch cold
All the rain we're getting always reminds me in the lack in places like California. I relished the drops that fell on my head today. Yes, I had an umbrella, and brown sugar melts faster, but I enjoyed being pelted just hard enough to make me grin. For the moments it took to walk across the parking lot to the car I was extremely mindful of the needs of others for this simple act of nature. An hour later I listened to a young cashier  talk about Cuba, the decades long sanctions, and how he's going there first chance he gets. Talk of foreign travel led to postcards when I told him how happy I was when I got my first one from Cuba. I thought he was joking when he said, "Oh, we have postcards here! My friend, who travels a lot said she always buys postcards when she goes on vacation . . . We have racks of them behind you." I felt so sorry for him. I explained; he got what they were with a "Ooh. They're the ones without envelopes!" Said postcards were in his future. I made a convert! 
Listening is about being consciously aware. So is letter-writing. It's one of the most mindful things a person can do. I'm fully engaged when I put pen to paper and leave behind words that communicate my thoughts and feelings. I believe that's why we write when we "can." Can means when we're able to give our full attention to the pleasure at hand. I re-read the special three-page letter from yesterday this evening. It was just as special as if we were talking in my living room. Intimate! That's the word I was searching for. Intimate.
intimate 1 |ˈintəmitadjectiveclosely acquainted; familiar, close: intimate friends | they are on intimate terms.• (of a place or setting) having or creating an informal friendly atmosphere: an intimate little Italian restaurant.• predic. ] used euphemistically to indicate that a couple is having a sexual relationship: he was sickened by the thought of others having been intimate withher.• involving very close connection: their intimate involvement with their community.private and personal:
Reading it felt like the penned reply went beyond being a social obligation in response to my initial letter. I'm sure you've had such moments too, so yes, you know what I mean. And there's yesterdays letter that left me laughing out loud, talking to myself, and feeling great about having pen friends. If I could, I'd take all of you out to dinner at my favorite restaurant! No. First, I'd like to have dinner alone with you first. Then I'd know who should sit next to whom. We'd eat, drink and talk 'til our gizzards got sore. We'd forget about being mindful, or not, and simply be. Wait. Isn't that what living is all about? Simply being? Well, to quote Charles Barkley, "I may be wrong but I doubt it."
Now, moving on to what's on my desk . . . I found a fun postcard that has 10 Texan philosophies listed. I bought 10. All there were. I'll share one each day, and randomly send one a day. Here we go:
1)  Never slap a man/woman who's chewing' tobacco. (I added the woman bit, and yes, I knew women who chewed.) 
Here's a lovely link from the Strathmore Newsletter I subscribe to. Writing. Why? Because . . . Well, read on and you'll understand, but I recommend it because we like paper, and Strathmore's into stationery. More and more companies are aware of our community and it feels good. Letter writers matter!

Flashback! A pad from a box packed over 11 years ago. I was desperate back then. I had a single pen pal. A Japanese businessman. We were pen pals for years. This pad is leftover from our time together because I didn't like the paper. I put it away but could not bring myself to toss it. So I packed it when we moved here, and here it is again. Laid paper used to make me grit my teeth. Not any more. I used a sheet this afternoon and let me say . . . Try it with a dip pen and iron gall ink! There's no bleed, no need to be mindful of trying not to write uphill, and the paper just plain feels good. 

Another visit to Texas Art Supply garnered this gem of a tool that's meant to help me with pencil lines and proper spacing on envelopes. No, I haven't tried it yet, so fingers crossed.

I haven't used one of these since art school. I need all the help I can get.

The first image reminds me of a fingernail moon. Yep. I bought new ink.

Banana? No. Ba-nan-ah! And bronze. Beauties, both. You should see! And experience the joy that comes from lightly running your fingertips atop the dry words. Don't close your eyes and do it. Ooh la!

And . . . ba boom! Another teaching-myself aid. I am going to be so smart! Just you wait and see, uh huh.

An old favorite that still plays well with letter-writing. 

More of my favorite state stamps. Part of another upcoming mission. (grin)

See? More proof that the world is becoming aware of us. I missed another birthday. Hopefully this will make up for my lapse, not that I've been in the habit of sending this lovely person birthday greetings, but still . . . 

And . . . another postcard! Forty-seven or so to go. Thank you, Dodson, D.! Now I simply need to find my map of the US, buy more push pins, and I'll be mapping my receipts. 

Write a little letter and make someone a stranger feel better! 


  1. Do you remember a singer by the name of Selena ? if so then you will know what I say when I say she was a wonderful tejano singer and I loved to listen to her . I think she would have been very big if she had not been murdered by Wanda Salazar . I think Selena must be singing for the Lord now . I feel great peace when I read your blog you know that ? yes your blog is easy , easy like a sunday morning ...LOL sorry I could not resist . take care my friend and have a wonderful 4th holiday I will have to be home because of the dog she will have to be crated because of the fireworks .

    1. Hey. Indeed I do remember her. I have one of her CDs. Selena was big at the rodeo on Tejano night, and yes, she was just beginning to mainstream when she was murdered.

      Oh my goodness. You still manage to blindside me. You're too kind. I genuinely appreciate your comments, even when I don't know what else to say beyond thank-you. And you forgave me for recommending "that book." LOL.

      I'm saving my 4th of July wishes until the 4th. Unless I forget. Again. But thanks for your early nod to the holiday. The cats hate fireworks too. Our neighborhood lights up like a war zone and there are fires somewhere. Since I cannot bear to see my money go up in smoke we never buy even a sparkler. :)

      Be safe!

  2. Limner, what a lovely post. I'm grateful for your sharing your thoughts and photos. I especially liked the crescent moon and I'm a fan of the Lydia Mendoza Texas stamps as well. Again, what a treat it was to read your words.

    1. Aww, Leigh, I'd hug your neck if I could. Thanks a bunch. Did you see last night's moon? I sat here and gazed until my neighbor's flood lights got on my nerves. I miss the stars at night being big and bright, but I'm no longer deep in the heart of Texas. (sigh)

      I had to order those Lydia stamps. Since there aren't postcards too, I have decided to make my own. Shh, don't tell.

      Again, thank you! And I got your beautiful mail! There's always lots of mail when I least expect it. According to JC's update from 7 minutes ago, they're stuck in the airport in GA because of rain, and won't make it to Houston until maybe 9 AM. There will be no letters written this weekend.

      Have a safe, happy, drama free holiday. :)

  3. I agree -- a lovely, thoughtful, delightful post! Enjoy the rain for me....

    1. Thank you. I appreciate the thumb up. Now, if I could have as much mail art fun as you do . . .

      More rain today. Predicted temp tomorrow? 105 degrees. The humidity is enervating but our skin is nice and moist.

  4. Very nice post. You are an interesting woman.

    1. Thank you. You are rather interesting yourself. I appreciate your comments but I'm unsure of how to respond to your last opinions. We seem to be poles apart in our views regarding human rights, civil rights and religion, but I still believe we are more alike than we are different.

      I won't ask what you mean by "interesting" since we know that in the south "interesting" has a totally different meaning. :)

      Be well.

  5. 105??? Yikes. I don't think i could stand that. We are supposed to be 64". Yes. that's the high.

    1. See? Living in Katy has its perks. We have more trees, grass, open fields, and less concrete than Houston. I could live with 64 but only if there's sunlight.