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Being mindful about mindfulness

I am a runner. At least, I waken up every day with the ambition to run.  Sometimes I don't get there - so may be I am not a runner?  Actually I like to run and when I do I am reasonably comfortable with it.  Although if I am honest I was a better runner before than I am now. Age, overall health and general wear and tear have taken their toll. I do wonder if maybe I am not a runner by some people's standards. But I keep on running when I can, such as it is, so I must be a runner.  For me it's good for the body, it's good for the mind and it's great for the soul. Yes, in my own mind I am happy to call myself a runner. 

Oh my goodness! When I read what I have just written it mirrors the daily negotiation I have with myself over the decision to run or not to run. It's my conscience speaking I think. If I fail to run I feel guilty. My husband refers to my behaviours as stoic whereas I don't have a problem with it. It all goes badly wrong when I am injured though and the decision to run is no longer in my control. The resentment, even anger comes in to play and the misery of that daily thought process is instantly something that oddly I miss very badly. 

And so I pursue a sports massage with Jane. Jane can fix everything and generally does in about three treatments at most but the challenge is getting an appointment with her. I won't tell you her full name for fear of making her even more popular than she already is. I hate those days, sometimes even weeks, waiting for the next available appointment to come round and then visit her in her bright and airy loft space in Edinburgh's new town. 

I've known her for a number of years now but I don't see her very often so there is always a catch up to do on our news as she treats my injury. I am also reminded in these moments that maintenance is far better than cure. If only I would do that! 

It's not a traditional massage by any means and whilst it can be relaxing, more often than not it involves deep breathing and in the outward breath, extension of the troublesome muscle. She is very skilled and it almost always works. Her influence is calming too. Whilst she is concerned with the body's biomechanics, she is also aware of your mindfulness. That instruction to breath in deeply and slowly exhale allows her the opportunity to work with the muscle and free it from the restriction of trauma. But importantly, for me at least, she has influence over my mind as well as my body and I am conscious of the moment. 

To the reader that may not seem like a big thing. For me it is because I rarely live in the moment. My mind is always considering past events or future tasks, however small. I remember vividly the first time Jane made me aware of that moment as I breathed in deeply and exhaled slowly. It is a moment that I miss out on most of my days. She encouraged me to take ownership of that moment more often and to be aware of it - feel it, see it, hear it and be at one with it if possible. I have done this and I know what it feels like but I don’t do it nearly often enough. 

I took her counsel home with me and that weekend I realised that in my household there is one family member who has long ago mastered mindfulness and he has achieved it without realising it. I hadn't realised either. It is Muir our 18 year old son who has epilepsy. In fact, Muir has such severe epilepsy that he has profound learning disabilities. I blog about him often and therefore those who read my blogs will know of him. 

That weekend we sat on the patio chairs in our garden. It was cold but we were cosy in our winter coats, hats and scarfs. Muir had a thermal rug to sit on just to make sure he was warm enough. He was playing with his bubble blower, one of his favourite past times. Being autistic he is want to do this for hours. He watches every bubble that emerges from the bubble gun, he follows it as it rises up in to the sky, sometimes blowing in the wind, up and over the roof tops. Some of the bubbles are bigger than others. One or two are mighty. A few are double or even triple bubbles. And they bear all the colours of a rainbow. He notices them all. And as they rise up and his gaze follows, he observes the clouds in the sky. Pointing upwards he says ' fast cloud ' and spots a bird flying by. He waits for a moment until all the bubbles are gone, most of them burst and then he revisits his bubble blower. Each round of bubbles brings new surprises. It is as though it all happens in the slowest of motion. 

I was so conscious of Muir's mindfulness that day. Muir must never be rushed, he does everything in his own time - Muir time. He often tells us to 'wait' because in Muir's life there is no hurry, no sense of urgency at all. He is rarely conscious of what he must do but always aware of what he is doing. He sees things we do not see. He hears things we do not hear. When I am with Muir in Muir's time I am in a special place and I am grateful that he is with me to remind me of the need for mindfulness. It might actually be better for me than running and the best of all things for my soul. 

Being with Muir in these moments is to touch an angels wings.

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