I help and otherwise look out for my mother every weekend. She has not escaped the wandering mind and fall risk of the over-90 set.
I wake up several times each night and walk through the house to quietly check on her.
In the last few months it has occurred to me to walk a few steps at a time then pause. I consciously take a few breaks and check in with my body-felt-sensations.
Even at 2AM I know how to quickly get sucked into my worries and overwhelm regarding life, work, and my mother. Breathing and body-sensations call me back to being alive now... quietly.
The darkness invites me to a soft focus. I try seeing only what I can without straining... and the shadows and different shades of darkness invite me to be with them exactly as they are.
And, yes, the risk of stubbing my toe on a stool or swinging a shin into a really solid end-table also invite me to awareness about the next step I'm going to take.
Stools and end-tables have been regulars teachers on my night-time strolls. I'm most likely to run into one right after I have found myself delighting in the lattice pattern of a shadow and light created by the street lamp outdoors shining though a still-bare forsythia bush. This lattice of shadow and light falls on a wall, a lampshade, a painting. I feel blessed in this moment. I want to twirl with delight… but stools and end-tables have taught me to be mindful about my next move in the small spaces of my mother’s house.
(A thought occurs to me: The rich and powerful live and work in buildings that have large halls with all the furniture pushed to the sides. You can stride with purpose and speed when you’ve got that kind of room. You could dance and leap with abandon in that much space. Oh well.)
I walk a few steps. Pause. Breathe. For a few breaths, I take in my body-felt-sensations. Let myself go soft-focus... and gently see what I can see, hear what I can hear. Be with what's here now.
Warmth rises for my mother. It all becomes a prayer for me and all those I carry in my heart.
Worries melt some. The night-time becomes a place where my day-time reality trance starts to ease. The helpful soft-focus of the night starts showing up during the day.
Try it, if you'd like.