Someone recently asked if I was a person who looked at life with the perspective of a glass half empty or half full. I think I gave the wrong answer. I asked what was in the glass. I thought it was a relevant question. Their facial expression said it all; my journey to the enlightened path of “mindfulness” was going to be a long, thirsty road. I believe that is the point.

I am the poster child for adult Attention Deficit Disorder, so let me tell you where my mind goes while I contemplate the glass. If life is a glass of unknown liquids poured to the mid-way mark, I have to know some key factors before I can respond with my viewpoint on the beverage of life. For instance, I’m going to need to know what variables I am faced with in the moment.

Did someone just run over my dog? Did my best friend move away? Did a cheque just bounce? Because let me assure you, if those are factors in the moment, I’m thinking the glass would be half empty and with my lactose intolerant constitution and this kind of luck, it would probably be a glass of milk and I couldn’t drink it anyway.

Now, ask me this question on the day I win the lottery and the Carpenter and I retire to Aruba, and let me assure you, that same glass will be half full of margaritas, next to a full pitcher of that delightful concoction to wash that philosophy down.  How is that for mindful? I am capable of positive thinking. I just know it doesn’t come easily to me, but so long as I am trying, I’m at least stirring whatever is in that life glass.

When I forget myself, I have the memory of our recent trip to the zoo. Who knew that everything I needed to know about mindfulness would involve a groundhog, a llama and the logic of two children under the age of 10.  There we were, standing at the llamas, watching them chew their grass, regurgitate it, chew some more, lips smacking with the repeated motion of a mouth that seems to turn in circles, when my child exclaims with glee, “Look, it’s a groundhog. Cool. Come see.”

Before I could spot the fat rodent, a crowd of curious onlookers had gathered around us. The llama looked on, chewing. The groundhog dove for cover into his hole. Seconds later he popped up elsewhere to the sheer delight of his audience. He scurried about here and there, disappearing and reappearing and people were cheering his every move. I looked around in amazement. Did these people realize it’s a groundhog? Seriously?

Yes. They did. That was the point. In all the noise, the crowd, the massive impressiveness of zoology, what inspired that moment was a brown, common every day ground hog. Living in the moment, present in the now was good enough. My children knew it. A crowd of strangers felt it. Mindfulness. I was in awe. Happiness is contagious.

That groundhog taught me a valuable lesson. My life cup runneth over. Who cares what’s in the glass, or how much. The point is, I actually like to drink from a life that is shaken, not stirred, and follow it up with a chaser of reality and a hot toddie of quality time with the people I love. In fact I plan to leave a wet ring of condensation on the table when I leave here. Cheers.


Kelly Waterhouse