As originally posted today on Medium.com.
Cookie Monster knew what was up. I heard somewhere that he has had to learn the art of loving his fruits and vegetables, these days, much like the rest of us. But, back when I was a little one, I remember that he never failed to joyfully appreciate the value of a good cookie.
In fact, I doubt very much that he ever failed to appreciate even a bad cookie. Monsters know things that take human-type people a long time to learn.
Thanh Nhat Hanh knows a few things about cookies, as well. He also has some things to say about breathing, about walking, and about smiling.
Suppose, for example, that you were having a bit of a bad day. Which of the following should you do (assuming you can):
D) All of the above
You know, come to reflect on it, I am convinced that “all of the above” is genrally my favorite selection on multiple choice questionnaires. Why limit the options?
You are breathing right now. Did you notice?
Yeah! It’s pretty cool!!
No really, please don’t stop. BREATHE.
Good job! Now… notice yourself breathing. Breathe in. Breathe out.
In the background, Ben Lee is singing to me. “Gamble everything for love,” he sings. “If you gamble everything for love, you’re gonna be all right.“
How often do you pay attention to the act of breathing? How present are you in the present moment?
When my babies were tiny, I would sometimes watch them as they slept, just to watch them breathe. Infants do not breathe like adults. Their breaths are tiny, fluttering, and fragile.
My babies would be very, very, still when then slept. But when I could see them breathe, I would know they were still alive.
We are alive. This is a precious thing to remember.
When Thich Nhat Hanh was a child, his mother would bring him home a cookie when she went to market. He speaks movingly in his writings about mindfulness, about being here now in the present moment.
He gave me the gift, today, of remembering to value what is. He also reminded me of something else:
Maybe you have the impression that you have lost the cookie of your childhood, but I am sure it is still there, somewhere in your heart. Everything is still there, and if you really want it, you can find it.”
—Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step.
Congratulations! You, my friend, are alive.
Please have a cookie.