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Mindful : August 2018
pings and accompaniments. I have—as I always do—a plan for how to get supper on the table. Unbeknownst to me, Kev also has a plan, and it doesn’t have much in common with my own. We butt heads in the kitchen, each of us trying to get the pierogies ready according to our own idea. It would be comical if it weren’t so stressful. In the midst of trying to hold on as tightly as possible to my plan, and to bend Kev to it, I have a moment of clarity: Just as I am a person with what seems to me a perfect plan, Kev is also a person with a plan. And we have the same goal—get these pierogies to the table to feed our family. We have the same belief, even: that our way of doing it is best. This insight is momentary, and it doesn’t stop me from strongly advocating for my way, but it feels like a break- through—and I ease my grip on the situation. And you know what? Supper gets to the table, and everyone has a great time and a full belly. The next night, I set my timer for 5 minutes and sit cross-legged on the bed, while Kev is stretched out beside me, reading on his phone. I bring my attention to my breath and feel grate- ful for this practice. When the timer chimes, Kev says, “That 5 minutes went pretty fast, hey?” I say, “I don’t know, I think it was a pretty regular 5 minutes.” He persists: “It was fast, though.” I roll over and reach for the book I’m reading and archly inform him that time is a construct. I have a momentary flashback to my first-year philosophy course while he laughs and laughs. DAY 30 Same Me, New Tools By now, I wake up craving my 15 minutes on the cushion. I’ve realized that much of my life is spent waiting for Kev to be ready to leave the house, and that instead of huffing and puffing and rolling my eyes while waiting for him, I could instead just use that time to meditate. I am not a brand-new person at the end of 30 days. I am the same old person with some new tools, and a new willingness to approach myself and others with friendliness and curiosity. I make a list of things I have thought were like meditation. It includes writing, walking, sewing, cooking. I make a list of things that are actually meditation. It includes a single entry. That night, I once again sit cross-legged in bed, Kev stretched out beside me. I set the timer and assume the posture. This 5 minutes seems to be taking forever. I gently bring my attention back to my breath. It wanders; I bring it back. I begin counting my breaths, which are slow and measured. I reach 100 breaths. I can’t believe how long this 5 minutes is lasting. When the timer finally chimes, I see I had set it for 15 minutes. I remind myself again that time is a construct, while Kev laughs and laughs. I’m pretty sure I’m doing it right. ● “Mostly we don’t see the fruit of this practice during a 15-minute meditation,” Sharon Salzberg says to me. “We see it in the rest of our life.” August 2018 mindful 51 meditation