Snowshoeing up a hill on a beautiful sunny day, it was so much fun to notice a dog’s pure enjoyment as she played in the snow. Her energy seemed boundless, though her human said she would later pay the price. She’d be stiff and sore, unable to jump up onto the bed, one of her favorite resting places. Clearly she was not moderating her activity to try to avoid that outcome.
As I trudged up the hill in the heavy wet snow I kept reflecting back on the dog’s enjoyment. I too was enjoying being out under that gorgeous sky, walking on snow, but I can’t say my enjoyment was pure. It was tinged with thoughts of the future—I knew I too would be stiff and sore later on—and with thoughts of the past—wishing I were the disciplined kind of person who would be in better shape and more easily going up the hill. Some of those future thoughts were lighter, too—I kept going in part to see if I’d get to another view point. Some of the thoughts of the past were wise—feeling gratitude for those who broke trail before me.
The doggie’s owner commented that he wished he had a jar of that “pure enjoyment” to open when he needed it. I realized mindfulness was that jar for me: the ability to notice all the changing thoughts, physical sensations and emotions that came and went without landing on any one thing as “how it is.” And the choosing, again and again, to notice enjoyment.