The Mindfulness Blog

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Mindfulness Begins With Your Toes

Mindfulness begins with the little things-- things that exist, but don't have a particular meaning. Becoming aware of them and noticing them. Being curious about them, without becoming obsessed by them. And moving on, without longing or lingering. Without judgment and without attachment.

Take, for instance, our toes. They're with us our entire lives, but we hardly ever notice them-- except when we paint our toenails. Or clip them. Or when we wiggle our toes. Or stub them. Makes me wonder why they even exist-- but thank goodness, they do! According to biomechanics experts, they serve a couple important physical tasks. Besides, without them, there'd be one less thing to wonder about!

Moving on from toes to other things, mindfulness also enhances our perception of-- and response to-- non-physical things, like feelings and emotions. The loop remains the same, regardless of whether the subject may change from corporal to non-corporal, or from pleasant to unpleasant. Notice. Be curious. And move on.

For the longest time, I struggled to understand the concept of mindfulness then one early summer morning-- while walking with my then four-year-old grandson (identifying different bird songs, listening to the breeze, looking at the shapes of leaves and the bark on trees) -- the mindful nature of the experience finally dawned on me: Complete and total engagement in the moment. Curiosity, followed by a spontaneous impulse to walk on with an open mind, to the next encounter.

That's what mindfulness is, for me. Child-like, but not child-ish. And, who knows? Maybe that's the real reason, (biomechanics aside) for toes!


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