By Josie Finlay
Cleaning dog poo off my shoe as a mindfulness activity
The leaves are turning and the air is crisp, which means that everyone has been taking their dog out for a walk. But autumnal bliss doesn’t come without its hazards, and unfortunately this weekend I fell foul of dog fouling. Happy Halloween!
Because of the shoes I was wearing, this was less an Inconvenience and more an Ordeal. As you can see, their thick rubber soles are riddled with deep grooves and crevices – lots of fun places for a big old poo to get lodged. They are poo magnet shoes, where every fragment of matter is made to feel hygge. So it looked like my weekend was about to be interrupted by a long annoying task that absolutely stank. Let’s get this over with, I thought, running one-shoed into the house, rolling up my coat sleeves, and then I can get on with my important life.
The old me (the me from about five days ago) would have continued in this mind set. For her, the poo challenge would be an unpleasant hitch that had to be overcome as fast as possible, and she’d deal with it while acting as if it wasn’t really happening. Firstly, she’d be doing it while still wearing her coat. (When you’re wearing a coat inside, it feels like you’re neither properly outside nor properly inside, and therefore whatever you’re currently doing doesn’t count.) The old me would be scraping quickly at her shoe, reading the weekend magazine at the same time, and thinking about what she might order at the curry house later. Then she’d go to said curry house still with a bit of poo on her shoe because she wasn’t concentrating enough to do the job properly, and then she would have to do the whole blessed thing again.
But the new me is the me that has completed her first five sessions on Headspace. I was apprehensive about mindfulness because for some reason I was scared of blocking out 7 minutes a day for something that feels like doing nothing. I’ve also always disliked the phrase ‘being present’ as I felt it sounded meaningless and wishy washy. But, not being mindful hasn’t actually done me any good. I rush through things like cooking, cleaning and organising because I’m thinking about the next, more ‘important’ thing I need to do. This often yields sloppy results, which wastes more time in the long run.
So I decided to accept the dog poo, give my full attention to the dog poo and even enjoy the dog poo. I put on some music and a scented candle (seriously), took my coat off and got to work, dislodging every last bit from the maze of my complex soles. With the right frame of mind, you can fool yourself into thinking even the crappiest tasks are radical acts of self care. Lesson of the week: dogshit can be mindful, but mindfulness sure ain’t dogshit.
NB I made the conscious and mindful decision not to conclude with ‘It’s good for the sole’ so please do not contact me about this, thanks