Long before it became a high- society fad, an old, grey haired, yoga teacher tried to instil this quality into my 17 year old self. I thought it sounded good, but dismissed it as something that old people do. Not sure why the idiot me thought that though. Being aware of one’s internal self, and being in tune with the present moment, should not just be a old person thing. Ugh, stupid teen!

Mindfulness is important, now more than ever. We are a distracted generation. Technology, social media and the “flattening” of the world has literally ripped our privacy to shreds and most of us never seem to have single moment in a day when we aren’t occupied with something. Our children have no idea what it means to be bored and our grandchildren will probably have wifi receivers fitted into their heads or something.

I sometimes don’t remember for sure what I had for breakfast. One day coalesces into the next, while we swim deep in the quagmire of posts, blogs, vlogs, news, chats, video calls..

I switch on the radio every time I drive. I put earplugs on when I work out. I am reading something when I breastfeed. Watching TV when I eat and youtube videos when I get ready in the morning. A bit pathetic I think.

We are afraid or possibly bored with our own company, when did it come to that?

Yesterday, I chose to train without my head phones (rather I was forced to, as I had forgotten them). I concentrated on each muscle as I used them. I found running on the treadmill extremely boring, so I tried to focus on and try a new method of breathing.

I paid attention to every niggle and was mindful of how one arm seemed to take the slack for the other while I did combined exercises.

I always knew my forearms sucked, but not until yesterday did I realise how much.

I found out that my legs were even stronger that I thought they were and I was grossly undermining them by not pushing them hard enough.

I strained my neck muscles whenever I struggled with finishing a set.

My breathing was out of whack and was messing with my efficiency.

Just paying attention to my body and breathing, taught me more than anything that a personal trainer or expert could tell me.

I was so fascinated, that I chose to not to put the music on when I drove back. I was so much more aware of my surroundings. As I walked back to my car in the dim glow of the street lamp, I wondered how easy it would be for someone to grab the distracted me from behind and run away with my belongings, or worse. I looked back instinctively and found nothing amiss.

As I sat in my stuffy car and took a moment, I concentrated on breathing deep and full, and felt each muscle group loosen and relax, one by one. I noticed the unique hum of the engine, and how it seemed to mirror my breathing as we idled at a traffic signal.

Like usual, I took the stairs to our apartment. Usually, I run up the five floors, the aim being to simply finish the task as quick as possible. Last evening, I leisurely stepped on each stair, realising that unlike the usual running junkie I am hamstring and glute dominant rather than quad dominant. My quads are in fact an embarrassment! I also realise how much easier it is to climb five floors after a good workout rather than after I stand the whole day (in the procedure room or OR).

To continue on this path of accidentally discovered mindfulness, I chose to not have any distractions during our next nursing session. No TV, books, iPads, laptops or phones. I stared into the brown- grey eyes of my three month old. His eyes are the most extraordinary color I realised. Not entirely brown, sometimes grey. Their intrigue and beauty enhanced by startlingly prominent limbal rings. He watched intently and seemed to converse with me, as we sat silently in our private bubble of contentment. I was mindful of my indescribable feeling of belonging and attachment to this tiny human and felt a strange sense of joy settling in. Sounds like a load of crappy mumbo- jumbo, but honestly I speak the truth and nothing but the truth!

There is something after all to this mindfulness brouhaha. And I hope to practice more of it in my day to day existence.

You folks too should give it a go.

Till next time.

Dr J.

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