Plop keeps her firmly in present

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 25, 2013

There are experiences; things that happen spontaneously, that bring your attention smack into the present moment. You don’t have to think about it or try to give it your awareness. Just boom, it happens and you are there.

It is interesting what a small thing it takes to grab you and stop you from focusing on anything else. That is what took place this morning as I sat on my deck with my beautiful friend, Margo.

We spread our mats to practice a little yoga, but enjoyed a bit of conversation first. It was a lovely day with blue sky overhead and a breeze moving through the oak trees carrying the sweet perfume of nearby jasmine across the deck.

Music played in the background — the sound of Steve Martin picking his banjo while Edie Brickell sang. I know it’s an interesting choice of music for yoga, but it worked.

As we talked, a cat roamed up, gave us a look, toyed with the edges of the mats and then ambled off to find a good napping spot. We dropped easily into conversation, in the way that friends who have known each other for a while commune.

Both of us are “older” women, and the talk usually moves beyond superficial things to what I describe as things of “more substance.” One this day, we explored our thoughts on being more open to life, embracing change and learning to stay in the moment instead of falling into stories from the past or worries over the future.

We talked about the challenge of finding quiet in the midst of the chatter that can goes on in our heads. It is a topic we address often in yoga — how to be present with what is going on at this moment with this breath.

How do you let go and just be aware of life in this moment? Yes, we were into the meat of the subject — serious stuff, right? Then in the midst of our questioning, it happened.

As I focused on Margo’s words, I felt a plop on the top of my head that pulled me straight into the experience of the plop. Trying to holding my attention on the conversation, I reached my hand toward my bangs and it contacted something sticky.

“I think a bird just pooped in my hair,” I said. “Something hit my head and I think it was bird poop.”

Margo leaned forward checking out my head.

“There is something up there,” she said.

I pulled the sticky something out and sure enough, there was a black blob in my hand.

“Oh, I’ve got to get this out,” I said, hurrying toward the door. “I’ll be right back.”

In the bathroom mirror, I saw more of the black blob as well as a white speck of something. Leaning over the sink, I wet my fingers and washed the piece of hair.

Back outside, we moved into our yoga practice the poop forgotten as we flowed through the poses and into final relaxation. We ended sitting together, eyes closed listening to the sounds around us and feeling the breeze move over us. It was a lovely way to begin the day.

Later, after Margo left, I remembered about our conversation about living in the moment. That is when I started laughing as I realized that in the middle of our deep discussion, Mother Nature, the great spirit, the creative source, an angel, my higher self or whatever you want to call it sent me a lesson.

What did I learn? Well, I learned that being present in the moment isn’t so hard when a bird poops on your head. And, perhaps if I stop trying so hard to “be” where I already am, I might not need a bird poop experience to wake me up to the present moment. Oh and maybe the secret is not to take life too seriously in the first place.