Monday, January 8, 2007


Why is it that when you close your eyes, food tastes so much better? When we go out for sushi, our whole little threesome family closes our eyes while we're eating, making yummy sounds. Even now, I'm sitting here having a bite of a Twix bar and when I close my eyes, it's the sweetest, most delightful thing I've ever tasted.

I think if I didn't look so weird doing it, I might close my eyes all the time to eat.

That reminds me of a movie, American Beauty. In one scene, the boy takes a video of a grocery bag swirling around in the wind. Blowing up and down, around in circles, like it was playing with the leaves. It's so mezmorizing, watching that bag dancing with the wind.

Sometimes when I'm at a stop light, I'll observe the trees or the clouds slowly passing in the sky. It occurs to me that if I had a video camera taping the leaves fluttering in the trees or the branches swaying and bowing in the wind, it might be the most inspiring video ever seen. The difference, I think, is watching it without distraction. Like viewing it through a tube or from a box. No cars or pedestrians passing by. No horns blowing. No one watching. Just me and the tree. Or just me and a dancing grocery bag.

There is a quote by a zen monk named Cheri Huber. She's this amazing woman - funny, spritely, not at all what I imagine a zen monk to be. (See Cheri says "The quality of your life is determined by the focus of your attention."

I heard this quote last year but I don't think I really got it until recently. I've noticed that when I'm completely focused on a task, when I don't allow any distractions but think only of what I'm doing, things get done so much faster, so much more easily, with such high quality results.

When I'm driving and completely focused, I can avoid all sorts of potential accidents, I never jerk the car to a stop and never get stuck in an intersection. Same thing at work, it's amazing how much I can get done with so little mistakes.

The most interesting thing about focusing on the present moment, is that my face and body completetly relax. When my mind is spinning endlessly, I'll tell myself to stop, be present, see, smell and feel everything around me right then. The muscles on my face relax when I didn't even realize how pinched they were. My skin feels soft and clear, like there's not a wrinkle in sight. I can imagine what Anne Rice was talking about when she described the vampires as having alabaster skin. Completely flawless. Alabaster. (I love that word!) Relaxed with no anxiety, no stress, no problems to solve.

So, I keep on focusing, being present. Maybe I'll even start closing my eyes when I eat. I mean, really, it doesn't bother me to yoga in the middle of the treadmills at the Planet Fitness. Or drive around with blinking red and green lights strung through my bike rack on my car at Christmas. I notice at I get older that I'm less and less self-conscious. But, that's a separate post.

For now, I enjoy the trees blowing in the wind, the sight of a dancing grocery bag and the bite of a Twix bar.

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