Spontaneous Mindfulness Practice

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Photo by John Wilson on Unsplash


As the summer winds down and the deadlines of a number of projects I am involved with getting closer — including co-producing the exciting TOGETHER! Conference — I notice an unwelcome but familiar feeling of tightness and stress growing inside of meit’s a knot in my stomach and heaviness around my heart. I know exactly what this is. It is my habitual response to time pressure, called impatience. This is what has been my go-to fear pattern that is based on the unconscious belief of the ego that there isn’t enough time to do everything that needs to be done. Thankfully I learned this about myself well over 25 years ago and have gathered a few tools over the years to counteract the breakdown of the feel-good existence that is by far my preferred way of being.


One of the things that I know always calms me down when stressrelated contraction rears its ugly head is my meditation practice. This morning, as I was preparing to sit on my pillow, I felt a longing to both move and be outside. My balcony wasn’t an option as we presently have construction going on next door, and the workers start their various tasks really early. As to the moving urge, I do like some kind of physical activity before meditating in order to move any stuck energy of the night before, and to open up the flow in the body. Since in my recent post about practice, “How to Design Your Own Self-Care Mini-Retreat” I mentioned the positive effect of periodically doing something different from our usual routine, I decided to practice that this morning.


I remembered that there are about 100 steps from the ground floor of my apartment building in LA up to the rooftop — I had actually counted them earlier. In the spirit of experimenting, I decided to go a few rounds up and down the stairs to see if that wouldn’t wake up and enliven my body. Having routinely climbed the five flights of stairs of the Custom House in Reykjavik in the early days of my business life in Iceland as an importer, I was inspired and reminded of the benefits of stair-climbing by a radio interview I heard a few days ago with a New Yorkbased architect. As research is showing that walking stairs is an underrated but powerful exercise, architects and city planners in New York City are implementing what they are calling “Active Design” in new buildings and communal spaces. One of the guidelines is bringing back stairs after decades of the predominance of the elevator getting people up and down floors.

So there I went, up and down, up and down. As I reached the 4th and top floor on my last round, I decided to get a bit of fresh air before going inside again to meditate. As I walked around on the roof and enjoyed the Miracle Mile district view in the fresh morning air, I stopped at the recreational area on the other side of the roof. It is tastefully equipped with a few sun recliners and a table or two. And what is more, it has a water fountain that was playing a most beautiful tune of splashing water. How could I have lived in this building for about five months now and not paid enough attention to this fountain to want to visit it more often? Let alone meditate under its soothing sounds!! I can only laugh at myself when I wake up to the realization of having been asleep to the simple wonders that are right under my nose. I had been up to the rooftop many times but had never fully taken in and appreciated the presence of the fountain.


I chose one of the benches to sit on and decided to meditate there and then. As I closed my eyes and went inward, I heard the soothing sound of the water and felt the light breeze brush against my face. Calm and peace came over me. Gratitude welled up within as I appreciated the endless gifts given to us by life if only we will listen and pay attention.

Is your calm waiting for you on your rooftop?


Photo by John Wilson on Unsplash

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