I woke in a foul mood from a Sunday-afternoon, unplanned cat-nap on the couch. I overheard my nine year old daughter asking my wife if she'd come play on the trampoline with her. My wife, awsome wife that she is, said sure, you go out now and when I'm done straightening and paying bills I'll come out and join you.
Like I said, I was in a foul mood. My back hurt, chores were still undone, Monday was already looming and the Sunday doldrums were already strangling me. Then I did the unexpected. I joined Mary on the trampoline! She was pleasantly surprised and said dad are you really coming over here to jump with me? We played a couple classics like break the egg, log roll, and dead lady dead lady and before long I was huffing and puffing and played dead man dead man and on the count of five I didn't come alive. As Mary jumped around me it dawned on me how truly lucky I was to be alive. I invited her to lay down with me for a rest and thanked her for getting her old man out here to play a little bit, told her I was in a pretty grumpy mood. She said, "I know." Ouch.
I asked her if she ever heard of Mindfulness. I told her being mindful was about being present in the moment. About being in the moment. Engaged, aware, and open, while at the same time attentive, focused and able. I asked her if she'd join me in a Mindfulness exercise I had recently learned. As we lay side by side on the trampoline on a brilliant Fall afternoon we closed our eyes and we discussed what each of our five senses were trying to tell us.
We closed our eyes and started with what we were hearing. Wind chimes way over st the neighbors, birds, a car driving by, a distant dog barking and then it became real quiet and she said I hear the wind blowing in the trees. I asked her what she could smell and she said she could smell the leaves. I asked her what she tasted and she said her mouth. I asked her what a mouth tasted like and she said hers tasted like the Lemmon tea and honey Mom had made her for her sore throat. Yum. Told her I tasted my bad breath, yuck. I asked her what she felt and she said the trampoline pushing up against her. She said they had just done something like this in dance class. We all laid down and the teacher said relax. Feel your feet melt into the ground, now your legs and back-side. Feel them pressing against the floor, now feel them melt into the floor. Now your back, and shoulders let them relax. Now feel your head. Feel the weight of your head against the floor. Now as you relax let the stress flow out of your head and feel it lighten. Feel the muscles in your face and neck loosen and relax. Let the stress flow out of your shoulders and back and feel yourself get lighter. Let your legs and feet become light like a feather. Feel the tension and stress blow away like the breeze. Feel yourself floating on the floor. Now wiggle your toes and feet and flex and stretch the muscles in your legs and back. Open and close your hands and reach up into the sky. Roll your head slowly back and forth and up and down. Take a deep breath in. Let it out and slowly open your eyes. Now what do you feel Dad? I feel wow. I see wow. I opened my eyes and everything looked different. Everything looked brilliant. Crisp. New.
I asked what she saw. She said the sky is so blue and the leaves are so gold and the sun is so bright and the shade is so dark. I see Mom. I see her too babe and she is so beautiful. Suzy said what's going on out here. And I said Mary just made me see better! You have got to try this. So we repeated the Mindfulness Dance Class Relaxation Exercises and to my surprise the sky got even bluer, the leaves got even more golden and the sun even more bright! They started jumping and I went in to get Mary a water bottle, but came back out with her two sisters! All five of us on the tramp and two out of three of the dogs. Tyler would have jumped up too, but he's getting too old for such nonsense. He was witness, however, to what I will always remember as a little heaven on earth. As close to perfect as I will ever be.