Of Cats And Mindfulness

Of Cats And Mindfulness

Cats don’t know how to use paper towels.

This may seem obvious to you, I know, but to be fair, humans don’t know how to use them, either. Thing is, the odds are really stacked in our favor here, what with the opposable thumbs and complex brain functions and all, but still we absentmindedly paw away at the dispensers like petulant tabbies, leaving a trail of shredded destruction strewn throughout public restrooms all across America.

I started thinking about this paper towel business the other day after watching a TED talk where, in summary, a man demonstrates that all you need is one paper towel (of any variety! any size! any shape! any color!) and a deceptively simple Shake, Fold, Wipe technique in order to adequately dry your hands: WATCH IT HERE, since I have no idea how to embed video in this post.

I bow to your greatness, Reverend Paper O’Towel!

In the name of experimentation, I tried it – and it worked. Buzzing from my pseudo-scientific high, I suggested the Great Paper Towel Challenge to some friends of mine at dinner the next evening. Calloused hands were displayed and doubt was expressed, but the TED towel talk proved victorious, winning two waste-reducing converts along the way!

This is where I let you in on a little secret: it’s not magic. It’s not really about being an anal-retentive, obsessive-compulsive, fantatical Shake/Fold/Wipe adherent – it’s about being MINDFUL. In other words, it’s about thinking about what you’re doing before you do it.

Shocking, I know.

The great thing is, that even though this simple technique gives us one awesome, small step towards reducing paper waste on our pretty little planet, this concept also applies to things that aren’t made out of paper…like, basically EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD. For instance:

- Excited about potato chips, but always eat a disgustingly inappropriate amount of them? Try mindfulness! Taste the chips, eat one at a time, stop when you’re satisfied! WHOOPEE!

- Love the bargain-stuffed aisles of Target, but hate the fact that you drop at least a Benjamin every time you shop there? Try mindfulness! Do you need it? Will it improve your life? ZOMG!

- Have to drive one million miles to work in hateful traffic, and find yourself alternating between wanting to cry yourself into the office and wanting to ram every car in sight? Try mindfulness! Breathe before you beep! Sing before you yell! Find one single thing to appreciate about your drive and go ahead and appreciate the living daylights out of it! YOUR LIFE IS TOTALLY CHANGING!

[Retreats from soapbox]

Can you tell I just started learning how to meditate?