An “Uh-Oh” Moment and the Value of Mindfulness


The above isn’t a self-portrait (fortunately).  However, it has happened when someone looking at her phone tumbled down an open sidewalk grating.

I’ve had a few close calls and think it’s useful to reflect on the importance of being in the moment and not distracted by the many gadgets (by that I mean mostly our smart phones) that seduce us away from the reality we’re in.

Keep yours in your purse or pocket as you walk down the street and notice the number of people who are looking at their own.

This is a request for concentrating on what you’re doing when you’re doing it –particularly if it’s walking or driving, when forward motion and not concentrating don’t mix well together.  I think there have been studies that also show that reading or watching TV when you’re eating keeps you shoveling food down, and potentially overeating, instead of savoring what you have on your plate.

So, friends, stay in the moment and keep all your senses open to your surroundings.  You might even smell the roses and hear the birds again.  And save yourself from breaking your neck.

Speeding bikes, turning vehicles and sidewalk cracks! Oh my!

Speeding bikes, turning vehicles and sidewalk cracks! Oh my!

I recently met a group of friends for dinner.  Several reported on incidents where they’d fallen on sidewalks.  The villain for one was a manhole cover that wasn’t flush with the pavement.  Another caught her shoe on a crack in the sidewalk.  As a consequence, both were dealing with dislocated shoulders and weeks of physical therapy.

Another friend slid on a wet manhole cover last winter and broke her wrist.  Someone else was run down by a bicyclist and had a broken shoulder. My dental hygienist walks with a permanent limp from having been hit by a turning taxi.  A college classmate was hit by a turning car but, luckily, came through the experience with no permanent physical consequences.  She’s a bit traumatized, however, every time she has to cross the street.

What should we do about protecting ourselves from these mishaps?

I strongly urge you to donate any black coat or jacket to a charity and buy a new one that’s a light color, or, if you can’t do that, wear a light-colored hat. Or think about slathering your outwear in reflective tape.  Never walk and look at your phone!  Also, try to not focus on the ground below but instead be looking a few feet ahead.

And good luck to us all!