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Cold Turkey

These days between Christmas and New Year are definitely odd. In her book ‘Black on Black’ Hilary Mantel referred to them as ‘the dank oily days after Christmas”. They remind me, a bit, of the beach at Weston Super Mare with the tide out - as it always seems to be. A sort of endless mud plane, with low grey sky, distant Cardiff lost in mist and a chilly wind of thoughts about what has gone before and what is on the horizon...

Sitting in mindfulness on these days brings an interesting perspective on this sense of the familiar and the endless. Just sitting watching the flow of thoughts – memories - cautious planning for post vaccine days - replaying of conversations – things I didn’t do – things I should have done - against the steady background of the breath and the ebb and flow of sensations: all this already challenges that sense of ‘sameness’. Infact, noticing all this has already changed the day.

The light in the room has subtly altered, my energy level has subtly altered; my mood has subtlety altered. Even my thoughts about what I’d do next has changed: I was going to go outside to pick up the dog poo in the garden. (Thanks, Finn the Lurcher). But I’ve noticed that I’m hungry and need to eat first. And maybe it would support my mood better to go for a bike ride than to pick up the dog poo just now. The dog poo can wait, just for an hour. And so, it is. From moment to moment nothing stays the same. And, through our practice, we have just a little choice about how we approach the next moments of our day.

As we all face this complicated New Year with our mixed bag of hopes and trepidation, this ‘knowing’ can help and support us. It means that we are not locked in sameness. It means that paying attention to this moment ‘oils the wheels’ of the next moments. There is a little more space - things can free up and move just a little more easily - we can take a take a bigger breath and look around - we can offer ourselves a kind word for doing our best in these (massively difficult) circumstances.

And when we open our eyes. the tide may even be coming in......

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