Shower with Attention

I get in the shower and do my usual shampoo, condition, soap, etc. I don’t think about what I’m doing; I think about conflicts scrambling through my head, or what I’m going to eat, or what I’m going to write on Facebook, or anything that has nothing to do with showering. Then something snaps me back….

Surgery. I’ve had a lot of experience being snapped back to a focus on the present moment. Let me be clear, pain sucks. It could be surgical pain, death of a loved one, or corporate politics. But if you pay attention you’ll find that pain, and all the activity around it, pulls your focus sharply into the present moment. It teaches us something very important about living right now. So back to showering….

Today, 48 hours after my latest surgery, I remove the firmly taped gauze dressing to see what will become my newest scar. “Not bad!” I think. The bathroom is starting to steam as I step into hot water cascading from an extra wide showerhead. I’m instantly reminded of each glorious, difficult, joyful shower that I’ve had since March 1, 2014. You may not remember any particular shower of the last two years, but I do. After 118 days hospitalized in less than 2 years, including 20+ surgeries, showers have become a precious achievement for me.

Today, I revel in the hot water cascading over my head still throbbing from anesthesia. I wash my hair twice, only because it feels amazing. Tension softens across my swollen left hip, held together with thread and bloodied steri-strips, as hot water and soap bubbles gently soothe the assaulted area. I step out onto a knobby cotton mat and dry off with a large, soft towel.

Ordinary things, little things, possess great value. The same goes for people. When we give the present moment, and all that it contains, our undivided attention we find magic. This applies most of all to our interactions with people, especially those who seem ordinary and possibly inconsequential. During my lengthy hospital stays my favorite people were those who mopped the floors and emptied the trash, unsung heroes all. I showered them with attention and in return my room was always immaculate. Where are the unsung heroes in your world? Is it the cashier at a convenience store? Or the receptionist in your office? If someone seems unimportant, shower them with attention! Magic happens when we recognize value in ordinary places.

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