what our staircase teaches me about mindfulness

When we were searching for apartments in Brazil, we were drawn to those with two floors. When I stumbled upon (pun intended, you’ll see why) the one we are currently living in, we fell in love and just had to make it ours. When people saw the pictures, they all exclaimed the same thing:

That staircase!

We always wrote it off and said it would be fine, and it is, as long as we’re fully present in the moment when going up or down. It has already taught me quite a bit about being mindful:

  • Slow down. The first couple of times I went up and down the steps, I zoomed. Just as I do all things in my life. Big mistake. Because the stairs are not linear nor the same size, a quick climb could result in a VERY quick descent. So it goes in life. I so often get into business mode (in fact, I’m struggling with that very thing today) and want to go, go, go which can result (as it is today) with disruption to my state of peace. But as with the stairs, if I take my time instead of rushing, I’ll be able to do things once instead of twice, with more intention and quality, without scrapes and bruises.
  • Be here now. There have been times on the stairs where my mind was somewhere very different than focused on my feet. And sure enough, I have slipped. The only thing I have to do or can control when climbing the stairs is climbing the stairs. There is no such thing as multi-tasking. There is here and now. So it goes in life. The only thing I have to do or can control in this very moment is this very moment.
  • Be careful where you plant your steps. I have learned, through some staircase-induced-pain, to watch my feet closely as I put them on the step. This is of utmost importance toward the top and bottom where the steps are not even the length of my foot. If I do not pay attention to the placement of my feet, I will slip right on off. And I have. So it goes in life. There are many grounds in which to plant roots and many forests with trees of which to call my neighbors and many skies under which to warm my face. A lot rides on which of those I choose and which of those I actively and/or passively avoid.

Currently I’m scheming about where to put my meditation place in our new home. Since there is a cubby/den/area of unused space right under the stairs, I’m pretty sure that would be apropos.

And the cushions sure would make for some comfy landing gear.

For a (very amateur) video of the stairs, click here.