Dying Daily #16: aWareness Wednesday

Man, I just blew right through what was supposed to be a thing with Mindful Monday. Not very mindful of me.

We’ll do aWareness Wednesday instead.

The more we pay attention, the more we realize that the present is made up of all sorts of sensory inputs, little parcels of information that tell me something, either consciously or unconsciously, and our thoughts about them.

Right now:

I am aware of the softness of my chair, the warmth from the heating pad on my neck, an itch on my calf, the stiffness in my legs from doing squats yesterday. I can hear something clinking in the dishwasher, probably two plates bumping against each other, which annoys me for some reason.

The feeling of annoyance triggers thoughts, wondering if I should go open the dishwasher and rearrange some things, but then another thought about not wanting to interrupt the cycle.

Anxiety as I remember I need to go to Costco later, relief when thoughts rush in to tell me I can get a sandwich there to make it more fun. They also have a giant hotdog and a coke for $1.59. Thoughts also remind me that I don’t dislike Costco, and wonder about the anxiety. (I wound up going to Walmart, the ultimate test of acceptance and non-judgment ).

Anxiety has been constantly present for a week now, my mind searches for reasons for this because it believes it can make it better by explaining it.

I hear my dog snoring, I can taste the coffee I drank a while back, my throat itches. My body is tired, which brings up anxiety in relation to everything I have to do today. My mind explains that it will be okay. My mind counters with an assertion that I am overcommitted.

This is the cycle we all find ourselves in most of the time. Something triggers our senses, and this produces an emotion, and thoughts rush in to either explain it away or try to hang on to if it is pleasant.

This happens with physical sensations as well. Often, something in the environment triggers a feeling in us and our thoughts try to explain it. They have negative bias because we have evolved this to keep us alive.

I say it a lot, but it bears repeating: a vast majority of the thoughts, feelings, sights, sounds, smells, tastes, body sensations and situations that constantly create our present are neutral, but we have preferences and opinions that paint them one way or another.

When we can view them all mindfully, it opens space for us to accept them as they are, and we find that everything is pretty okay.

Be aWare this Wednesday. Ignore the poor job I did with Mindful Monday. Embrace aWareness.