This old house is cold, but the sun is beaming brightly through the huge bay window of the living room on the south side.
There’s a large patch of warm light on the thick area rug, which looks like a perfect place to sit and not think. I take a soft throw and spread it out on my chosen spot; the dog and cat both take note of this new addition to the floor and loiter about as I set up for my 15 minute sit.
Taking a moment in the sun is a luxury not lost on me and I enter my meditation with gratitude for all that I am blessed with.
I’ve been doing house chores wearing indoor boots and a toque in addition to my normal attire to keep the chill at bay. The antique radiators are temperamental, so I often just shut them off when the days are bright and my body is busy; the combined warmth is enough to keep me comfortable as I sit still for a few moments.
I’m finally practicing consistently, a moment every day and the benefits are already measurable, yet I still need as few excuses as possible to stop.
As I sit with a guided recording, the voice asks us to become aware of all the noises that surround us, things that may annoy or agitate, distract or pull us away from sitting still and quieting the mind.
I hear trucks turning into a property across the street; the sounds of a single chickadee calling out in a tree outside the window and squirrels pattering across the roof, sliding gracelessly on the ice patches, clutching to the tiles.
I hear my dog, nestled in a ball on a couch to the right, snoring and muttering in her sleep.
The cat, curious as always, is simultaneously tossing some toy and tearing into the fabric of a second hand couch while sounding out pleasure at himself with cat warbles and chirps.Marley basking/photo: Larissa Pelletterio
I can’t help but smile as I sit, eyes closed picturing my pets antics in detail, trying to maintain awareness of the breath. One, inhale. Two, exhale. Three…Marley rubs up along my side, dragging his tail lasciviously across my forearm, inhale. Four…he plunks down heavily beside me and begins to knead at my right thigh with razor sharp claws just retracted enough not to pierce my leggings…exhale.
I open one eye and stare him down, laughter bubbling in my belly.
SweetPea lifts her head and sees the cat receiving a morsel of attention and wants a treat too. She hops off the couch to sidle up to my left side, standing upright to place an inquiring paw gently on my shoulder. Then she kisses my face and wiggles her whole body in an invitation to dance.
I coax her to lay down with a belly rub promise and the sun to entice her. Marley looks on, soaking up the rays with us.
I’m so in love with these critters.
It’s been miserable outside for days now, the sidewalks are covered with sharp salt, so SweetPeas’ daily exercise has been limited to exploring raccoon tracks in the back yard and running up and down the stairs with me indoors.
Since we’ve been hiding inside so much, Marley has been stuck without his alone time, so we’re all experiencing a touch of cabin fever.
I compromise and indulge my critters, in the moment, with full awareness. Scratches and rubs are dealt with loving kindness; I observe the rise and fall of their sweet breath, under furry chests until, finally, they rest.
I wonder for a second: Did I give into a distraction, or did I embrace living in the now?
I like to believe I experienced the latter option.
Go back to the beginning, the instructor calmly encourages us. Go back, if we lose count.
And so I begin.
*This piece has been adapted from my blog.
Larissa is currently living in a self-imposed social experiment, snuggled in a strange sector between city and suburb. She’s currently immersed in navel gazing and horizon searching, while navigating the precarious passage from She Who Survived to She Now Thrives. Her wee dog and tripod cat help her steer clear of rocks and stormy weather.View some of her art here.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise