Note: I wrote this on Friday, but I chose not to post it because (a) it was still Mental Health Awareness week and I was concerned that reading it within that context wouldn’t really bode all that well for me and (b) it wasn’t very interesting.
Now it’s Monday so everything is different because (a) my mental health is no longer in the spotlight and (b) it is still not very interesting but then there was some serendipity on Saturday, so here we are. Read on, and be prepared to be thoroughly underwhelmed.
On the walk home after taking the kids to school this morning, there were a couple of squirrels chasing each other around the base of one of the huge boulevard trees. This of course is not an unusual thing. What was unusual was for the first time ever I thought, “I am so close to this squirrel, I can almost taste him.”
Not it. I didn’t mean it metaphorically. I actually had the wet squirrel fur smell and sensation in my mouth for a lingering moment.¹
The serendipity part of the experience happened the next morning when we were walking back from piano lessons, and Elder (aka the 3rd grader) had the exact same wow-I-am-so-close-to- a-squirrel experience (without the tasting sensation, I’d assume), and declared “I am so close to this squirrel. I cannot even believe how close I am to this squirrel.”
The truth is, I think we have both been in closer proximity to squirrels, I think we were both simply very mindful of the squirrel and for some reason I would say that we both felt a certain affinity with the squirrel.
Apparently the mindfulness meditation class is having some spillover into my regular life, in the paying attention to things realm. Truthfully, I would prefer to be more mindful of pleasant things, rather than the taste and mouth-feel of a squirrel, but you see that is the tricky thing with mindfulness–you just accept whatever is, whatever comes up, without judging it or wanting it to be different, not grasping for a better taste, like Oreos or Doublemint Gum or whatever–no, you just say Here it is, squirrel sensation in my mouth. Interesting.
Can’t you just sense my greater sense of well-being and calm? Me neither.
¹This might be less alarming to you if you have already read Flora and Ulysses, which I have not (but I have heard an excerpt on MPR). Please don’t think that I have any interest in eating or tasting a squirrel. It’s only in the context of saving a life via mouth-to-mouth resuscitation that I imagined the squirrel mouth sensation.