Poetry for Modern Mindfulness


The following New Yorker piece so cracked me up. Hope you enjoy it!

~ Daniela Caride

Poetry for Modern Mindfulness

Swiffering my floor, / I offer thanks to the Procter & Gamble company.

Gathas are small verses or poems which we use to help us in our mindfulness practice. A great practice is to compose our own gathas to help ourselves and others to develop mindfulness in our daily life.


Driving the Car

Getting into my car,

I vow that I will drive with

Mindful care and caution.

If, in fact, this is my vehicle,

For I often step into

Someone else’s car

By accident.

If I have done so now, here in the parking lot of Stop & Shop,

May I smile with self-compassion,

And not curse my cluelessness,

As the cars where I live are all Subarus,

And all the same model,

and all the same “jasmine green,”

A bewildering forest of Foresters.

Going to the Movies

Taking my seat in the movie theatre,

I am excited to be here,

And offer my heartfelt hope that it is not

A film like “Carol”—Beautiful, but so boring.

I loved the period costumes

But wearied of the endless shots of the movie stars gazing soulfully

At each other

Or staring into space,

Like mute people.

“I love talking to you,” one of the women says to the other in one scene,

Which is strange,

Because they hardly talked at all.

May this be a movie with more dialogue,

And fewer closeups,

And way better sex scenes.

Using the Phone

Breathing in,

I call the operator to report

A suspicious voice mail from a person claiming to represent

My credit-card company.

Then I remember that there are no operators anymore, as there is

No “phone company.”

Breathing out,

I use this moment of agitation to reflect on how everything changes,

And remind myself of other bygone things I used to complain about but now sort of miss:

Rockefeller Republicans, airplane meals, Sonny Bono, Tom Carvel,Times Square when it was


And men who leered at me on the street.

On second thought,

Maybe not Sonny.


Swiffering my floor,

I offer thanks to the Procter & Gamble company

For a marvellous cleaning product, although I know that

Some people think P. & G. got the idea of electrostatic cleaning cloths from a Japanese firm,

And that the Swiffer Sweeper is based on the “razors and blades” model—that is: I must keep buying expensive new replacement cloths endlessly.


I love its silence, so unlike the infernal noise of the vacuum cleaner.

This silence has changed my life,

Allowing me to clean my house,

A chore I do not enjoy,

While talking to my friends on the phone.

A win-win for me.

Doing the Dishes

Breathing in,

I wash the dishes,

Aware of their usefulness in holding

Nourishing meals that have sustained my family for many years.

I wonder why it is always, always me doing the dishes

By myself,

And whether, interconnected as all human beings are,

This may be the one exception.

Breathing out,

I release my feelings into the universe, ever hopeful that someone, somewhere,

Will sense my need,

And offer to help.

I open my heart to the possibility of this miracle.

At the Workplace

Today, I vow to regard my co-workers serenely, with

Loving-kindness and without judgment.

This one, who appears not to bathe and has a pungent odor,

That one, who leads the e-mail clique trash-talking the rest of us,

Are merely creatures caught in dukkha, or suffering.

May they one day be made whole and not so messed up,

Or at least be transferred to another department. ♦

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