A roller coaster ride that never stops.

Archive for the month “July, 2013”

Thoughtful v Mindful

I have just returned from a walk on which I had a very simple insight: I try awfully hard (and unsuccessfully) to be Mindful, but I have sort of lost Thoughtfulness in the shuffle. They are both very important to the kind of life I want to live, as my attempts to be Buddha, Jesus, Socrates, etc. daily demonstrate, but these days, I am more just a reactive, emotionally flooded disaster than a sage or holy person.

Never one to quote the dictionary, I will give my take on the difference between these two words:

  • A Thoughtful person considers a matter carefully, with reason leading the way.
  • A Mindful person is aware of each thought, feeling, and sensation present in any given moment.

Thoughtfulness is geared a little more toward action, and Mindfulness toward observation.

To me, there is also a matter of degree – thoughtfulness, while still a challenge, seems a lot more in reach than mindfulness. Thoughtfulness involves bringing one part of yourself to bear on one aspect of your existence. I have “done” thoughtfulness up right many hundreds of times; mindfulness maybe a handful. My focus has been a lot on the latter recently, but it has occurred to me that perhaps I should aim a little lower and at least try to be a little more thoughtful from time to time. I have my hands plenty full with that, without trying to achieve enlightenment or Nirvana or even a lesser goal like serenity.

Observe: I went out for a walk this evening when a storm was imminent. I was angry at having been cooped up all day doing my repetitive household chores and repetitive thought patterns. Everyone here suggested I figure out an alternative but, out of pure reactivity, I insisted on leaving. My SEVEN-YEAR-OLD daughter gave me an umbrella on my way out the door.

Five minutes in, the heavens opened, and thousands of cold, sharp knives stabbed my back for the next forty minutes. It turns out that umbrella, in addition to being far too small to cover 90 percent of my body, also had a hole right in the middle of the top, so a Chinese-water-torture-style trickle ran down the middle of my face the whole time. While I’m glad I got a chance to clear my head, a little thoughtfulness may have been a good idea, and the walk postponed.

Now that I demonstrated to myself the need for more attention these matters by getting very cold and very wet, I think I may find keeping them in mind a little easier.


Teeth Again

I have mentioned before that teeth are being shed like mad around here, and I just noted that we are up to TWENTY-SEVEN teeth lost. Jane has lost more than half of those all on her own, and Tim has lost none, so I know we still have a long way to go. I can’t help but marvel at the pace of tooth-related activity. It really feels like it’s happening almost constantly. I have had many Tooth Fairy Malfunctions this summer, so I am trying to tighten up the performance here and get my magic back on. It’s really indicative of a system-wide failure. I am so very disappointed in how much fun and whimsy I CAN’T find this summer. Still not sure why, but I suspect that it has to do with needing to change my focus from “Preparing for Fall” to “Relaxing Expectations and Rolling with It.” I am hoping for an hour this busy weekend to stop the running and do a touch of big thinking at this midway point of the summer. If only we were at the midway point with teeth, but I fear there are many more 5am scrambles in my future.

Tomorrow night is toga night at the outdoor Shakespeare theater, and I think I will initiate a more lighthearted approach to the second half of summer by attending the theater in a sheet.

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