While driving to a meditation retreat, a friend and I got to chatting about William Bridges. It’s been years since I read my first Bridges book, Transitions, a bestseller on coping with change.
Thus another big-versus-small curiosity. Do little transitions of daily life matter less than major course-altering experiences? Wouldn’t the amassed effects of tiny transitions count toward significance of some kind in the measure of a life?
Simple things – turning from one task to the next, commuting to work, waiting for checkout, decompressing at day’s end – are they chump change? Throwaways? From the standpoint of learning to be present, I have to think they are a precious treasure trove. And I’m increasingly fascinated with navigating this universe of closeted moments.
But first, a confession. I’m no master. I do okay in some parts of my life. Working out at the gym, for instance, I pay attention, listening for body feedback between weight sets then adjusting as I go. Eating is a different story. From one bite to the next, I lapse. I don’t taste what my fork put in my mouth.
My worst offense? Rushing to be on time and plowing through my to-do list. The overall effect? Mild, chronic separation.
Am I really squeezing the most out of every minute? (That’s how I rationalized my actions.) Indeed, I am squeezing. I’m squeezing mindfulness right out of the moment. The simple transitions of daily life, seen from a wide eyed vantage point, start to look ripe. The payoff is mighty: connectedness. Certainly with others. And privately, but cumulatively, with oneself.