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The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Out came the sun and dried up all the rain, and the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again. And again. And again.

It's a child's song that my 4-year-old grandson sings, and it's a song I've heard a lot recently, as he has been spending time sheltering at home with my wife and me. And you know what? I think the itsy bitsy spider has a lot to teach us about many different kinds of things-- including mindfulness and meditation. Reps count!

Just like physical fitness, mental/emotional fitness requires commitment, regular attention and hard work. As Ringo Starr sang in one of his handful of decent songs: "It don't come easy". And the attitude-- the act of personal prioritization-- is exactly the same for mental/emotional fitness, as it is for physical fitness. Take care of your body, in pursuit of well-being? Check. Take care of your mind, in pursuit of the same? Check!

Stick-to-it-iveness-- which is a big part of what the itsy bitsy spider is all about-- is also a huge component of meditation, as well as anything that is good for our well-being. It's what a lot of more high-minded people refer to these days, as cultivating "good habits". I guess my mind just didn't progress much beyond the age of 4 years old!

If you ask me, meditation should be more than just a good habit-- it should be a priority (language matters), and in terms of offering encouragement to others, I suggest we hitch our mental/emotional fitness wagon to the same kind of rigor and discipline we bring to physical fitness.

Maybe cool down after a run, by sitting a few minutes in meditation? Maybe rest up after pumping iron by sitting in stillness and silence, observing our thoughts and/or feelings? Maybe relax a few minutes sitting (or lying, or standing) quietly, with our eyes closed (it we're comfortable doing that) after an energetic set of tennis? The possibilities are endless!

The past couple decades, a lot of attention has been given to the importance of physical fitness to our sense of well-being, and it seems that pretty much everyone has embraced that message-- thank goodness. Now let's bring that same awareness and commitment to mental/emotional fitness.

The mind/body dichotomy has been part of our collective understanding for a long time, and we need to start giving equal attention to both-- especially when it comes to well-being. And if we need a reminder, let's remember the itsy bitsy spider, as we climb up the proverbial water spout!


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