Today when I pulled up to the post office, there was a horse parked out front in the midst of all the cars. A small brown horse saddled and bridled patiently waiting for its owner to post a letter. It was a delightful sight. After mailing my letters, I turned the other direction towards my car and saw a nun in full length habit and wimple, not something often seen in our small town. These two unusual sights seen so closely together while doing something do ordinary, gave me the feeling of freshness to my life. It gave me a feeling of wonder and surprise, like the excitement I see in the faces of children exploring their worlds when every thing is new.
I realized how good it feels to be surprised by life, and how with Mindfulness we can have this experience often, even if we don’t see a horse and nun at the post office. With awareness we can see things afresh. We can have new moments frequently because they are all new. I remember a story a friend told me about going to a book signing when Jon Kabat-Zinn’s last book came out ( Coming to Our Senses). My friend said , “I am sure you hear this all the time Jon, but your classes have changed my life.” Jon looked right at him and said “But I have never heard it from you before Todd.” It was clear Jon was right there with Todd in that moment and not just signing another book.
The last time I went to this same post office, it was full and bustling with people hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. They were picking up letters and packages from all over the country and mailing things out also. I picked up on the excitement and it made me want to wander off somewhere too. It also made me see this small town I live in as some exotic location and the mountains I look at every day as something even more remarkable than I already think of them. So I encourage you to look at your life afresh, (and look up from your phone), be surprised, and enjoy the show at the post office or where ever you happen to be right now.