The Upside of Mindfulness

comments 30

Without mindfulness,
you might spaz out
in a moment of adversity
and plunge the toilet


completely oblivious
to the fact that
only a little nudge
is being asked for
in that location,
a gentle rhythm
that will pass through
a vast and holy maze
of intersecting worlds
that just happen

for that one moment

to share
your half bath,

so that in places
broadcasting colors
your eyes can’t understand,
and sounding deft languages
that long ago
outgrew the shackles of words–
places you can only contact
in the silent panorama
of your heart,
or in the curving sentience
of your breath,
(or in the porcelain-seawall-breaching,
sloshing mindfulness
of blockage removal),

a new life may be delivered
into being–
a new star perhaps,
or a baby lamb–
a vital spark of Creation
that needed you
right then
and had no other way
to reach you.

Without mindfulness,
how would you
know that?

You would think
it was just a toilet.
And you wouldn’t
take no for an


  1. Without mindfulness *anything* can happen, does happen, and we miss it! We all miss it. Without mindfulness we think it’s all ordinary when it’s all really a massive miraculous starburst of love.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I loved this sentiment, Alison. This is the heart of it– exchanging the normalcy of what isn’t adding up and isn’t even quite there in the way we think it is, for the brilliance of what is continuously beckoning to us… Thank you for this beautiful image!

      Staying tuned…
      Through our radio telescope heart…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Truly excellent Michael, and it is almost shocking how we habitually and unwittingly close off the vitality of our surrounding presence. I always thought ‘mindfulness’ was rather an odd choice of word myself, as the deeper we go into it, the more the mind empties itself (or should I say ‘flushes itself’?), so releasing an all-suffusing awareness in the process.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, Hariod, when we experience the expansion of opening ourselves to the vitality of our surrounding presence, it is startling. In a beautiful way. I like your description here, because I do experience that emptying out of awareness. What remains is somehow fuller, too, though its specific contents are only loosely apprehended somehow. I have this experience I wrote about in this piece all the time… Finding myself shrunken around some particular moment, aware of my own inner tantrum even if I’m “acting” quite stable on the outside… 🙂 Then I laugh as I come up through the surface for air and fill space again. What did I think I was going to find down there? Pearls? Hardly the place for pearls… 🙂

      Present and unaccounted for,

      Liked by 5 people

        • Ha! Yes, navel gazing may not get us there, but attentiveness… attentiveness to the heart’s quiet instruction in the face of such madness… that is an altogether more revelatory agent… 🙂


          Liked by 1 person

  3. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    This is wonderful, Michael! You are such a gifted writer! Every word is one to savor.
    Those moments of mundane activities, when we are reckless and unaware, are precisely the times when mindfulness is needed. I wonder how many sparks of inspiration I miss in a day. It is easy to be mindul in Nature, but to be open hearted plunging a toilet instead of seeing it as a drag, now that is an accomplishment. Thank you for this beautiful reminder on a morning when I cannot be in Nature. I have to MINDFULLY sit in the car mechanic waiting room while my truck has its oil changed. Good place for meditation, with the tv blaring and honks and bangs – good challenge to be with the “curving sentience of my breath.” Then as I write an uncomfortable business letter…..


    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Mary! I’m grateful for your kind words. You’re exactly right… mindfulness is the antidote to recklessness. That recklessness is almost self-fulfilling… It’s like that dream you can’t wake up from. You know you’re flailing in the moment, but you also don’t want to let the bee land on your face and sting your nose, so what to do… 🙂

      I hope you made it through the mechanic’s visit. I’m just thinking perhaps one could be grateful it wasn’t the dentist’s office, but these comparisons always trap us in the end, don’t they. Soon, we’ll be at the dentist’s office, and out of tricks… And I do hope the letter went alright. Business is hard for me some days, too. I think we learn a great deal going through these moments. Being mindful of our difficulties, even as we attend to what must be done. Sometimes, it just is what is in that moment… Nature transacts a great deal of “business” too, but seems perpetually aplomb. That’s the whole of Nature that we sense I imagine. The vastness of it all that is capable of holding any particular business with ease…

      Thank you for such warm thoughts and sharing.
      Much Love


  4. Wonderful again! I love the exploration of mindfulness and the with or without location, location, location. I suppose if it’s from within then we’re sitting on some prime real estate. Peace, Harlon

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks, Harlon. That’s it! Prime real estate, man. We are wherever we go… The world is strange like that, and eventually it becomes a great relief I think… To ourselves and to those around us…

      Peace to you, too–

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Genie says

    Wherever we are, we are always light, everything is light, however, on another level, there is suffering, there is Gaza — where there is no electricity nor sewage, for most of its walled in residents, there is frustration; there is the reality of no food — and houses in rubble from the bombs, so how then, does one reconcile this double reality? Is it only for the privileged who have access to the basic requirements needed to sustain life? or is light available to all, no matter the circumstances, and of course the evidence that this is so can be witnesses when a child in Gaza was being carried away on a stretcher, injured, bloodied, and at death’s door, calling, with all sincerity: “Allah.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Genie,

      I was really touched by this passage. I don’t know how I couldn’t be. I sense your questions are rhetorical, and that I would only make a mess of things by trying to give them the answer they deserve. The courage of the child in the face of such difficulty resonates through us. This question of suffering is really where certain spiritual ideals reach a sort of inflection point, and we find ourselves confounded by the most difficult questions. Light in every direction at one level, and profound suffering on another. In the face of such mysteries I don’t think there are right answers, other than offering the fullness of our hearts to the maximum we are able, in the ways that speak to us. I like to think that the moments when I confront my own guilt and anger, I make a small contribution to the eradication of such conditions through the inner connectivity of light… Do we honor the courage of the child by trusting in the light we carry?

      Thank you for such a thoughtful reply.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Genie says

        My dear friend, Nahida (the exiled Palestinian), wrote this beautiful poem, that she dedicated to me, I believe it answers some of the questions you present:


        This poem is dedicated to my friend Genie (Palestine Rose)

        When you write raw
        You leave your heart exposed
        It will carry many cuts and bruises
        It might even bleed its life out

        I too, write raw
        Not to appease
        Neither to please
        And certainly not to hurt or cause harm
        Not to praise or to be praised
        Not to condemn or put anyone down

        But to heal and ease the pain
        Of an injured world
        With which I fell madly in love
        Long before the day I was born

        I hear rivers and oceans weeping I go to pieces
        I see the tears running down sky’s face,

        I melt away, I go insane
        I would peel off the kernel of my soul
        I would crush my being to nothingness
        I would dwindle and wither away
        I would set my heart ablaze
        To see a child smile

        Take my heart
        Take my heart
        grind it down
        Sprinkle the dust over this tormented world
        Turn it to compost
        Let it feed love-hungry souls

        In the palm of my hand I hold my heart, tender and sore
        With delight I give it away
        Watch the blossoms budding around
        As one child smiles again

        Wouldn’t you?

        Liked by 2 people

        • Beautiful, Genie… And good answers…! I think with open hearts, we neither look away from, nor directly at what we would call suffering– but rather through it to the light carried inside of every moment that you and Nahida have so beautifully described. We entrain the world into the wake of our clarity… We may walk around bleeding, but oh so alive!

          Thank you so much for sharing this…


  6. Love this post and comments, Michael! I am reminded of times that my brain is racing ahead to something I WANT to do versus the mundane task I may be involved in…without awareness. I can only begin to imagine what I may have missed! 🙂 I will walk through today with an eye peeled…on the lookout…totally immersed in the moment 😉 I’m hopeful that “plunging” will not be in my near future…but if it is I will have a completely different view!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Lorrie,

      I know exactly what you mean about racing ahead beyond the task in front of myself. I’m getting better at relaxing into what arises, but that tugging sensation is just an unexpected change of circumstances away. It all seems to flow back to a fundamental feeling of discontentment that compels us to scurry around like ants from a mound that a rock from outer space rock just smashed in. Whether that’s metaphor or truth… I don’t know right now! Ha!

      Mindfulness… Attentiveness… and hopefully a life of fully-functioning appliances… 🙂


      Liked by 1 person

  7. “places you can only contact
    in the silent panorama
    of your heart,
    or in the curving sentience
    of your breath,
    (or in the porcelain-seawall-breaching,
    sloshing mindfulness
    of blockage removal),” – Hahahaha, a seamless slice of what might have been gaudy or raw in another’s hands, this ‘flows’ so well *winks*. I genuinely think the whole piece is excellent Michael. I also agree with Hariod re the strangeness of the word ‘mindfulness’ for the actions one takes to employ it. Still, that is the name most know it as, and it isn’t ‘fat-headedness’ or something just as unappealing *laughs a great deal*.

    Well done that man, once again.

    – sonmiupontheCloud

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hello Sonmi.u.t.C.!

      Thank you for the lovely sentiments you’ve rained down upon this patch of soil here. You’ve got me cracking up as well. Feeling very whisper-skulled. Like a dimensionless unit.

      Bowing in gratitude,

      Liked by 2 people

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