This morning, I woke up, got ready and left the house to catch the train, only to miss it by 30 seconds. It wouldn’t have been a big deal but living outside of the city meant the next train would be another 40 minutes. I felt angry. I’d woken up early on a Sunday for no reason and was now 40 minutes behind my packed schedule. What could I do on this platform? It was just me and…no one. Then my wise inner voice came to me. “You’re angry, you need to calm down, there’s no one around. It’s a bright sunny day and there’s a nice cool breeze. Why don’t you be mindful?”
The angry part of me simmered down. I then thought of doing something a bit different. Yes, I’d be mindful. But I had a notepad. What if I tried to write down all the things I noticed as soon as they shot through my brain? What could Mindfulness ‘sound’ like or ‘read’ like?
Here was my brain between 8am and 8:28am this morning. For those starting out, this is what mindfulness can be like. It doesn’t make very coherent reading, but hopefully will give you an idea! I’ve put paragraphs in to make it easier to read, but in reality it’s a continuous flow of observation.
Empty station and platform. Rustle of leaves. Sunlight and shadow dancing across this page as I write. Wind sweeping my hair across my face. Singing and dancing of leaves and wind together; the wind playing the leaves like an instrument.
Greenery. Page flapping due to the wind. Neck and shoulder pain. Blue sky, thin but still fluffy white clouds.
Sound of distant vehicles and chatter from guys on the golf course opposite.
Purple and yellow flowers. Traffic entering the carpark. A constant hum of electricity of the trainlines. Seems louder as I focus on it. Wind blows again, making sunlight and shadow dance across this page again.
My hair is still damp. I feel dressed up and slightly cold. The humming is still there.
Crackling leaves as the wind dies down. Wind picks up again – leaves dance again. Stray leaf on the ground makes a sound.
Birds singing, a song echoing in the woodland canopy. The sound of a person walking on crutches. Click-clack, click-clack.
Airplane humming crescendos and diminuendos overhead. Bee buzzes and stops. Birds talking. Some sound like singing, others cackling, others chirruping.
Voice of train announcement sounds. Not the train I want. Breaks the beautiful silence. Cackling bird sounds with the wood pigeon. There is life.
Now a security announcement. Yes – person with crutches appears in my view. Hear a horn in the distance. Electricity builds – a train will pass through soon. Car alarm goes off on one side of the station as a car drives past on the other side. No one is turning it off. It’s blaring.
Tick-tick, tick-tick, there is the train. Channels through with a low grunt and hiss as it halts. Car alarm still sounding. Train still thrumming. I look up – girl on the train speaking to someone. Train seems to have stopped for a while. Man dashes downstairs to catch train. Can’t see if he got it.
Train departs. No man on the platform – he got the train. Car alarm still going. No, man reappears. Did not make the train. Peers at the timetable, sunlight blinding him.
A man on my platform approaches and looks curiously at me as I write. More people arriving now. 10 minutes until the train gets in. Singing of another plane overhead. Loud buzz of the tracks and the car alarm still rings on…
All of this was going on whilst I was sitting on a relatively empty station platform. It’s amazing what we miss when we don’t pay attention. I felt a lot calmer after my 30 minutes or so of mindfulness and also quite surprised by the amount of action in an environment where I’d usually say nothing was going on!