(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

(c) 2013 Trina Lambert

Sometimes I have to remind myself that the destination isn’t the only thing that counts. When you are young, you think “When I am five, I can go to school,” “When I am in high school . . .”, “When I get out on my own . . .” and on and on. The problem is it becomes so easy to keep thinking this way even though you long ago stopped being young at all.

So far true mindfulness has evaded me in many situations. When I run, I can’t always focus on body sensing or my breathing. In fact, one of the best parts of running for me is how my mind often takes off on its own journey—which is definitely better than thinking about what may hurt or what I have left to run. Not very mindful I know, but that mind journey is part of most running journeys for me.

On the other hand, when I am doing ZUMBA or dancing, I am just dancing, hearing the beats of the particular song playing. When I was dancing as if I didn’t know my age at my nephew’s wedding in February, I did allow myself to think—briefly—about how old I felt the morning after dancing at another nephew’s wedding in November, but then thought, “What the heck?” My feet prefer the muscle memory of the moment, not the muscle memory of the mornings after–and so I danced on.

In every thing—little or big—that we do, there’s always this tension between journey and destination. For the chores we must do, it’s easy to think that just getting done is what matters, but when we do so, we lose the meditative benefits that can come from doing repetitive movements. In fact, I tend to tempt myself into doing these chores by listening to books or music—which is fine from time to time. But there can also be something very Zen-like about hearing the whir of the wheels as you push the manual lawnmower through the grass and smelling the perfume from the blades of grass now opened to the air.

Moments of flow do not happen when we are focused on the end to the detriment of what is happening around us. They happen when we are just where we are, one minute to the next.

You’re on a journey—don’t miss it while looking for the exit. Too soon, the exit comes for all of us.

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