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Mindfulness and Marriage: Moving Along

Marriage has to be the greatest opportunity for mindfulness on the planet.

I used to think that parenting took top honors, but really, a good marriage lasts a lot longer than a good childhood. After all, the kids do move out eventually, but the spouse stays.

Never the type to do things half-heartedly, my husband and I up the ante when it comes to spending time together. We have breakfast together. We ride to work together. We work all day together. We ride home together. We eat dinner together. We go to bed together.

This could be a recipe for disaster, but instead, we think it's the coolest thing ever, and we never take that for granted.

With all that proximity, we have learned tremendous patience and we've got a killer sense of humor. This means that even in our snarkiest moments, we know we will find a reason to crack up about it later.

In fact, some of our favorite stories are about moments of extreme mindlessness, and if truth be told, I tend to be the mindless one.

I know, I know. I'm supposed to be the mindfulness expert. Well, as I always insist, you can't be mindful of everything AT ONCE, right?

So, here is my favorite mindless moment--and what I learned from it....

While moving from Oregon to Montana several years ago, my husband was driving the U-Haul packed with all of our worldly possessions. Inside the cab of the truck with him was our second daughter, Tara, and our hyperactive yellow Lab, Thor. Meanwhile, I was driving behind him in the car with the other three daughters.

Hours passed. I obediently followed behind him, despite the fact that driving behind a big truck is, well, annoying. So, when we finally got to the mountain pass and the U-Haul was chugging along at 30 miles per hour, I felt it would be just fine if I passed him and made my way to Missoula. I figured I'd get to the new house first and get ready for the move-in.

I sailed happily along Montana highways (no posted speed limit), smiling to myself, excited to be heading to our new home. In fact, so thrilled was I that I didn't even stop to think that maybe Tom wasn't behind me. What could go wrong?

Well, everything. Unbeknownst to me, the truck's axle had broken, leaving Tom and Tara and Thor stranded along the road miles behind me. He tried to call me on my cell phone, but so blissful was I that I had, ahem, turned off my phone. They ended up hitching a ride in the filthy cab of a junk-hauling pick- up with three other people (hyper dog included) for over an hour to stay at a hotel (hyper dog included) until the next day when the truck was repaired.

Needless to say, I got an earful when we were all reunited in Missoula. I felt terrible, and yet I couldn't help but laugh at the thought of them stranded in Idaho with our out-of-control dog yanking our daughter hither and yon while Tom is calling my cell phone repeatedly.

Fortunately, Tom and Tara laughed about it too--eventually. What did I learn?

? It is possible to be mindless and happy at the same time.

? It is not possible to hear your cell phone when it is turned off.

? Be wary of U-Haul's promised "Adventure In Moving"...

? Stay connected, stay connected, stay connected.

? Sometimes it's better to go slowly, even if you're stuck behind a truck.

? Make sure you are married to someone who can laugh with you instead of holding a grudge.

? Mindless moments can lead to mindfulness.

? Marriage can make you more mindful--especially if you stick with it for twenty years.

Maya Talisman Frost is a mind masseuse in Portland, Oregon. Through her company, Real-World Mindfulness Training, she teaches fun and effective eyes-wide-open alternatives to meditation. To subscribe to her free weekly ezine, the Friday Mind Massage, please visit

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