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Bruce Lee Took the Stairs

There's a wealth of information in Bruce Lee's book, "The Tao of Jeet Kune Do" - the first time I read it, I was impressed. Now, sometime later and with better training, I'm even more impressed. Little details and nuances stick out to me.

I'd like to do a larger post looking at his philosophy sometime, but for today I want to put down something very practical. That is, you can and should incorporate movement, motion, and a basic "training" into your everyday life, no matter who you are or what your goals are.

"To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are."

That's the quote that starts the "Preliminaries" section of his book. Personally, I believe your body and mind work in harmony, and that this is inescapable. If you wish to be a scientist, philosopher, writer, or any other academic pursuit, you still need to train your physical condition. Your thoughts will be clearer, more lucid. You will have more energy and less distress. All things being equal, you'll live longer, and the years will be of higher mobility and quality of life.

"Training is one of the most neglected phases of athletics. Too much time is given to the development of skill and too little to the development of the individual for participation. Training deals not with an object, but with the human spirit and human emotions. It takes intellect and judgment to handle such delicate qualities as these."

Kitty Litter Zen Garden

On Kitty Litter Zen Garden

I'll start by saying that I have a lot of respect for Zen and mindfulness. I also have two cats and three litter boxes. So, how do these things fit together? I'm trying to infuse mindfulness into everyday events and I've noticed it's generally easier to feel peaceful and calm when I'm engaged in something I enjoy. The difficulty comes when I'm doing something less pleasant or even unpleasant. Cleaning the cats' litter box is one of those unpleasant tasks that needs to be done every day. If I skip a day it becomes even more unpleasant. I've worked on a way to make it feel less of a chore and more of something that when completed gives me a feeling of satisfaction and ease.

I use clumping litter and after I've scooped up all the mess into a plastic bag I use the little rake to smooth out the litter, kind of like a Zen garden. I try to do this with awareness and a sense of equanimity. When it's complete I can walk away knowing that it's done for today. It will be a mess again tomorrow but that's in the future.

It's a little like meditating itself. I don't always want to sit. Sometimes I make excuses or find myself so busy that I forget. If more than a day or two goes by I'll find my myself with a big mess. I get cranky and yell at my son. I'm more impatient in traffic. I don't follow through on other habits that help me stay mindful.When I finally do sit down to meditate I can't settle in easily. I have an itch that must be scratched. My mind wanders even farther than usual before I notice and bring it back to the present.

When I meditate every day the habit becomes easier. When it's done I can walk away with that same feeling of equanimity.

What helps you to be mindful every day?

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