Under the makeshift desk I have set up in the living room is a pile of shoes. Every so often I need to collect them and return them back to the shoe rack where they belong. They clearly accumulate because I kick them off while writing.

The weird thing is …

I have absolutely no recollection of leaving them there. For all I know they could be planted there by gnomes, trans-dimensional creatures, or even my dog. This is more curious because according to my conscious mind, I like wearing shoes and have no desire to take them off – much less leave a mess. I am genuinely surprised when I find them under the table.

The pile of shoes is a mundane reminder, as I practice mindfulness, to acknowledge my autopilot, unconscious animal self, that part of me that takes over when my conscious mind slips off. My animal being wants and needs things different from my conscious brain. I suppose I could be frustrated to discover that my unconscious self is stubborn – but instead I think I will choose to see that recalcitrance as a sign that we truly are one. I can choose to be curious and delighted by this strange being that share’s my life.

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