Last night, I enjoyed a wonderful evening of laughter and fellowship with a dear friend of mine (who I refer to as “Lovely” in this post) I haven’t seen in several months. Lovely is a lawyer by training, like me, who recently changed jobs from private practice to the Alberta public service (as it turns out, we worked at the same law firm once upon a time).
It was only Lovely’s second day at her new posting, but when we met for supper after work, I could tell she was already undergoing an inward transformation that crystallized in her countenance and her smile, the latter of which I knew was genuine, but which I had not seen manifest in several months.
It was as if a giant weight had been lifted off her shoulders. She radiated happiness, joy, and peace. She could simply be herself again (or as she always has been).
In Lovely, I saw elements of my own journey to living mindfully in the present – that is, a taking off of the heaviness and worry of what was, replaced with an ethic of living purposefully in the here and now. It is a daily journey imbued with a sense of gratitude for who I am (and always have been), as I find myself, wherever I happen to find myself.
I had suggested to Lovely last night that she and I might be categorized as “thinkers” as opposed to “doers”, and that this might explain why our trajectories have led us to this particular juncture in our lives and careers. On further reflection, it seems to me that the bifurcation of individuals as “thinkers” or “doers”, in actuality, only serves to trivialize the rich and diverse experience of human beings. It’s not as if the thinkers don’t “do” or that “doers” don’t think. No, this type of labelling does a disservice to the practice and purpose of mindfulness.
I think perhaps the best way to put it is that each of us had a particular and genuine awareness that this moment is incredibly fleeting and fragile, and whether or not we are “thinkers” or “doers”, the point is that this present moment should not be taken for granted, but instead it must be enjoyed to the fullest as it unfolds before us.
After dinner, Lovely invited me over for a cup of tea. She, her husband and I then had a spirited discussion (on matters law and non-law related) in which I quickly lost track of time because I quite simply enjoyed being in their company (as opposed to being in their company with a view of doing something to avoid have to just “be”) without regard (or rather, anxious regard) to the stresses and pressures of that day (which had by that point flowed into the realm of the past).
Perhaps the most poignant moment of the evening was when my friend showed me a picture of the art studio she had set up in her home as a place where, in recent months, she has dedicated to painting all manner of beautiful birds in their natural habitat. These breathtaking paintings are, in my humble view, an organic manifestation of Lovely’s practice of mindfulness. It is no doubt a sanctuary, a place of mindful refuge for Lovely.
I am very grateful for the friendship that I share with Lovely and for helping me to come to – indeed, arrive at – a greater awareness of my journey in mindfulness.
I wish you all love, happiness, and hope.