been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me,
Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'-- But I don't care! I'm still here!
- Langston Hughes
I was surprised to see that my last blog post was August 22nd, 2015. My intention was to write regularly about mindfulness, yet five months later my silent contribution lies there, unmindfully un-blogged, perhaps raising the question if I myself could use some mindfulness to stay on track about mindfulness?
But I have been living mindfulness, if not writing about it: paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment (or, at least, recognizing judgment). And I am blog-less, because most of my spare time and much of my concentration is aimed at taking care of Sara, our dying dog. So I have been living the way Sara lives, each moment observed, held and felt in awareness.
Which brings me back to August 22nd and my last post, the day Sara’s legs stopped working and we planned to “set her free.” But Sara didn’t know our plan, so she just kept living. Her legs started working again, she breezed past a quick bout of pneumonia and now she’s fighting a pesky staph infection with regular soaks in Betadine. She is a wobbly, walking meditation and she is still here.
Content, she is hanging onto life with all four feet, a stubborn insistence present since she was a puppy, her single-minded determination almost comical in its defiance, now bringing us to giggles and tears, frustration long gone and the dread of her impending absence firmly in its place.
Always hungry, gentle and shy, nose delicately raised to detect the latest treat, the anti-cancer-end-of-the line-eat-whatever-you-want-diet finally meeting her love of popcorn, buttered toast and packaged lunchmeat head on. She spends her time snoozing between three squares a day, no longer required or able to go on walks, not disappointed in the least, settling into one of several favorite perches lined with blankets and warmed by space heaters.
She is now, finally, the heartbeat of our house, the focus of all our spare attention, quietly commanding our careful surveillance, moment by moment, hair by hair and breath by breath.
Of course, this concentration comes at a cost: a constant low murmur of worry, an upending of projects, freedom and productivity. But this is mindfulness; compassionate and fully present.