I used to be like everyone else, hunched over a tiny screen, watching seventeen-year-olds give each other psychiatric diagnoses on TikTok. Then I misplaced my smartphone after the doorbell rang while I was playing Wordle on the toilet. Now I’m a mindfulness expert.
It all started forty-five minutes ago. Normally I would drink my morning coffee while hate-scrolling through Facebook to see which multilevel marketing scheme my high school nemesis is into now. Today, I chose to savor my beverage in the present moment. It was revelatory. The Trader Joe’s oat milk is way grittier than the Whole Foods brand. Also, two scoops of collagen powder is too much collagen powder. You can really taste the hoof.
Attending to my senses is so rewarding. I usually only look out the window to see if the Amazon Prime delivery van is there, but today, I’m completely tuned into nature. Right now, a Cooper’s hawk is eating a crow carcass in my driveway. Nature is just so RAW and so REAL. Life is fleeting. If I were watching my high school nemesis’s husband’s ex-girlfriend’s Instagram story, I would have missed this. This would make a pretty good Instagram story, actually. It’s got kind of a Game of Thrones vibe.
Wait. Damn it.
Inhale. Listen. The hum of the dehumidifier, the beeping of the reversing sanitation truck, and that whine coming from the gas fireplace make a perfect major chord. Beautiful. And exhale.
I haven’t felt this peaceful since I accidentally took my Lexapro twice and spent twenty minutes eating a cold Toaster Strudel while staring into the middle distance.
I should look up what that sound coming from the fireplace is, but I can’t find that fucking phone.
The true gift of mindfulness is that it gives us space to respond to our experiences with intention instead of reacting out of habit. Last month, when I found out that my two-year-old son hid the car keys in the crisper drawer and then snuck a wheel of camembert into his nursery, I screamed through my nose, and then stress-ate the warm cheese with a detached Barbie arm as a fork. But twenty minutes ago, when I saw that he dumped the contents of my makeup bag into the toilet, I just watched the shimmering beige swirl on the surface of the water and contemplated impermanence. It’s fine. I have a Sephora coupon.
Is this … enlightenment? My meditation teacher said that it could come on suddenly.
That coupon’s in the Sephora app, though. Shit.
It’s fine! I don’t need the phone. I am willing to confront my own thoughts without pausing to re-read my Twitter beef with that colloidal-silver-chugging men’s rights activist from Nebraska. Or look up that pain in my left butt cheek on WebMD, then Reddit. Or do reverse image searches of my Facebook friends’ homes so I can see what they paid for them on Zillow. Or text screenshots of my high school nemesis’s husband’s ex-girlfriend’s Instagram story to my meditation teacher. Mindfulness is just continually returning to the present moment, and I am an expert at that.
Oh, look, the hawk has moved on to a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos next to my neighbor’s trash cans. I wonder if his Nextdoor post about the sinkhole is getting any traction.
I feel a gentle vibration, but it’s not a phone notification. It’s just the friction between the couch upholstery and the seams on these pants.
The whole universe is vibrating, if you think about it. That’s the notification.
What is the sound of one hand clapping? I don’t know, but the feeling of one hand patting myself on the back is pretty grand.
I’m going to write a Medium article about this.