two tricks

for practicing being in the present moment

The other day while walking through Koreatown, I passed a long stretch of rose bushes that ran alongside an apartment building. The flowers were lush and white, and any of them would have complemented a bud vase beautifully. Some blooms were slightly withered, however, or had dropped enough petals to become slightly lopsided. Others were imperfect in some indescribable way, in some minor aspect of their shape or shade. 

As I walked by, I made a game of quickly picking a favorite from each cluster. I didn't slow my pace, so only had a split second to scan them over and choose. That one. That one. That. There, that one. It made me smile, the simple silly fun of it. A dozen tiny moments of concentration and consideration. Could be replicated, scaled up anywhere if you, like me, are working on staying out of your head and in the physical world around you. 

for breaking an association

Flowers again. 

Have you ever had a positive attachment to a thing that was also painfully attached to another thing? A song you love that reminds you of someone you've lost. A name you like "ruined" by someone awful who has it as theirs. A fondness you had for some place that, in your mind, became paired with a bad experience.

Picture a florist's walk-in cooler, with a dozen vases filled with mixed blooms. Any one of those flowers is a beautiful thing on its own, and any one is interchangeable with the others. Your associations are those flowers; they don't have to be fixed. Mix them up. Move them around. You have the power to create new, even better arrangements.