I’ve been practicing mindfulness in various forms – sitting/walking meditations, how/where I shop, offering kindness and compassion in my daily interactions etc. But today, it really drove home for me what practical mindfulness looked and felt like.
It was a simple trip to the farmers market.
The decision to go / not to go went through my mind. Do I really need to go? Should I only support my local fruit and vegetable shop run by Rino and his father Vince this week or support the local farmers and the shop? Can I make my provisions stretch without stepping foot outside this week?
But I love the experience of the market – I love the fresh produce – the raspberries, the carrots with their stalks intact, the fresh enoki mushrooms and the occasional musician playing while kids run around as their parents catch up. I love talking with and supporting the producers. And I love the undeniably beautiful sound of the apple crunching in my mouth on my way home.
So I ventured out. And it was admittedly more subdued than ever. Market shopping now requires a much more mindful and patient approach. I initially made the mistake of picking up a bunch of silverbeet at a stall, until I embarrassingly found myself having cut into a long 1.5m-apart queue. I apologised and joined the others. Some stalls were card-only with produce hidden away in eskies inside their vans. The food stalls had moved to takeaway/frozen meals, so the process of watching them cook is gone. My vegie stall had 1 person at the till and the other person placing the vegies on a table. My tactile experience of choosing my vegies using my senses of sight/smell/touch were largely removed. And the queue moved ever so slowly.
What I took for granted in the past of going from 1 stall to another in a free-range manner has now taken a complete makeover. Some stallholders managed the cash/produce situation with clarity, another used a tub of soapy water to exchange cash. And admittedly, because my favourite apple man hadn’t changed his transaction practices, I skipped his stall (I didn’t have the chance to give him feedback as he had customers).
While most of my market visits had been fairly leisurely paced, today, I had no choice but to slow down 5 fold. Which hand did I use to handle the produce? Money/card? Which pocket did I put my card/money into?
Everything was much more deliberate and mindful. I also found myself constantly balancing between only purchasing what I needed (and leave for others) and ‘do it once’ mentality to minimise outdoor visits.
The experience of being 1.5m apart also meant that I was much more patient if someone didn’t realise there was a queue (oops). The lack of proximity meant that I couldn’t show/read subtle body language signs as I normally would. I needed to be much more aware.
Which simply led to 1 solution. To be much more mindful and patient during these interesting times.
To S L O W right down.
With more compassion and kindness.
In what practical ways have you been practicing mindfulness lately?
Image by Flemington Farmers Market