These past few weeks have seen many long nights. My sleep schedule is…well, isn’t. It’s quite sporadic. And while I know that this has potentially poor outcomes for my health, I keep pressing on. Why? Because it is only for a season. Mrs. Meander and I throw this phrase around a lot in our home. “It’s only for a season.”
It’s worth it. It’s valuable. It’s an experience.
But my saving grace amidst all these changes has been my inner sanctuary. That place I can go to in spite of demands, noise, disturbances. It’s my home. It’s the reason people practice mindfulness. It’s my inner Buddha.
Speaking of Buddha, that was one smart fellow.
Stop chasing things, quit obsessing about outcomes, pay attention.
This world has a bountiful wealth of experiences to be had, but we can prevent ourselves form truly enjoying it all if we allow our run-away minds to taint the simple experience of being.
Just be with the experiences.
To fully experience each moment as it is, withholding (or at least recognizing) the inner critic that wants to make assessments of everything. Observe the voice. It’s just a voice. It’s not really even your true voice. It’s the mind processing, remembering, trying to make meaning. Take control.
It’s worth it, I think.
Notice how your mind’s excursions into commentary on the future, past, or present give rise to some emotion, often a negative one. If you examine these feelings, you’ll notice that they are an almost constant presence in the background of awareness. -Arnie Kozak
Snow happened again today and as surprising as that is on March 4th, it was beautiful. In the midst of watching the world glow white again, I was offered an opportunity that brought such hope to my heart. And I thought, “This moment couldn’t be more perfect.”
And it made me think about moments… how the same things can happen, words spoken, routine done… but every once in a while it’s like a moment get injected with magic… it comes alive… it breathes life. And it’s impossible to know when it might occur that way and even if you try to recreate that moment later… you may never feel that sparkle of energy in it again. For instance, Saturday I ran five miles on the track at the gym. About mile four, I suddenly got chills, my legs felt light, the right song came on, and I soared through the mile… smiling and almost giggling to myself. Tuesday, I ran five miles on the track at the gym. I survived it.
I say words to my Love all the time, sweet words, encouraging words, loving words. But the other morning, I rolled over, snuggled up and whispered. “I love this man.” He groaned under the weight of the moment. The magic of being at peace in a moment–settled into each other.
So there, gentle readers, another reason to stay in the moment because you never know when the magic will appear.
Today is my birthday! I have always loved birthdays … it’s a beautiful thing to celebrate one’s life I think. To take each experience of that year … dust it off … marvel at it … and put it back. For me it breaks down into moments that brought me growth … knowledge gained, experiences had, truth revealed. Moments that brought me joy … adventures shared, snuggles close, and watching my own little creation as she changes and grows. And finally, moments that brought me into balance … reminders in perfect timing, earth reaching out to touch me, and silence in my head.
I love reflecting, because in reflecting I remember who I was a year ago and recognize who I am today. I hope that I never stop evolving as a mind and never stop shining as a soul. I hope I can help share the burden with more people this year through words, through action, through simple faith in them. I hope for more adventures with my Love
… be they big or small, we are the best team I have ever known. I hope for more growth in my abilities in my career and success in the steps we are taking to do that for both of us. I hope for love and happiness above all, because they are the Crown Jewels in this experience for me.
So there are my birthday wishes … now all I need are some candles!
PS: I ran 5 miles today … spent a lot of it trying to distract my self with my favorite moments of 31 … and I survived!
Even just the sound of the them makes me lick my lips in anticipation.
It’s those silly, romantic, or deeply personal moments that make the day.
The space between the ordinary.
Where Love dances to music while I cook breakfast.
Where I get to sit in his lap and get ️snuggles before my next appointment.
Where I sneak away for a tea and some chocolate mid-afternoon.
Where I take a walk around a park next door to a school I work at, before heading back to the office.
As I walk, I think, “These are the moments I build alters on, this is my sacred.”
And the ducks and the sun and the trees seem to whisper their agreement.
Tonight, as I walked in place of Mrs. Meander I decided to try to walk without instigating any thoughts, but merely observe the thoughts that my brain produced and let seep into conscious awareness.
I was astounded at the sheer bulk of random thought processes that continually stream forth from the recesses of the sub-conscious. On a dark and relatively stimuli-free walk, my brain produced thought processes including, but not limited to: relationships, travel, marriage, pain, loss, camping, building, racism, Michael Brown, excess, lack, childhood memories, decisions, money, exercise, and politics. And so it went, and so it goes.
As soon as I became aware of a thought process and dismissed it, resolving to walk with nothing but my sensory experience… well, the next thing I knew I had just spent several moments “thinking” about something else completely irrelevant to this present moment.
It caused me to pause and ponder, “How much of what we react to, what we think we really “think” about is actually just us noticing our subconscious processing a mire of previous thoughts and inputs? Are we really thinking original thoughts when we say things like, “Well I think…”? OR are we simply allowing our brains to regurgitate a conglomeration of past outside voices that we mistake for our own?
I have a challenge for myself and for you, wonderful reader: As you go about your day, notice yourself “thinking,” and perhaps ponder the content of those thoughts. Were they relevant to your immediate situation? Did they bring happiness? Did the instigate anxiety?
Could it be that the journey to mindful living is paved with an awareness that our passing “thoughts” are actually making us, and not the other way around? Perhaps catching brains in the act of thinking could be the ticket to a more peaceful existence.
Happy thinking, my fellow travelers…
“Too much burden will halt your progress. Loosen up so that you can be swift.” –
Alissa Reddy, The Art of Mindfulness for Children
I watched her eyes well up with tears because Mistletoe did not come back this year… he sent a girl elf on the shelf instead. She had been begging for a “girl elf” for two Christmases.
The pain of letting go…
I watched her panic searching for her phone, her clipboard, her anything to take to her after school program as we are walking out the door for school. I encouraged her to breathe, to be creative, to think outside the box about what she could do this afternoon, instead.
The pain of letting go…
I watched her fall to pieces over the realization that her lunchbox sat happily at home on the couch. Even as I assured her I would go back and get it. Even as she nodded in agreement that it wasn’t a big deal.
She cried. Nothing about this morning had gone according to plan.
The pain of letting go…
It was wet and cold so I needed a new walking plan. Instead of my usual scenic route, I headed to the mall to do a lap. It was noisy and distracting and not at all my norm but I rolled with it. And as I did, I thought about my girl-baby and hoped her day was going better. I thought about her rigidness and anxiety that often flairs into panic and irritability. I have been reading a book about mindfulness for children and one of the goals taught is the art of “letting go” as defined by the author Alissa Reddy:
“Letting go entails leaving situations as they are and allowing events to unfold as they are supposed to.”
My beautiful strong princess is not good at this, but I wondered as I walked if I was so much better. Expectations often give way to disappointment, schedule often becomes law, and roles often box people in until they have no room to be themselves. I watch myself take life so seriously-over and over. There are chores to be done, mouths to be fed, money to be earned. I spin plates and plates until it is comical that I think it is achievable. Then, always, one little thing breaks or bobs or goes off kilter, and it all comes crashing down around me.
The pain of letting go…
As we walked with leashes in hand and dogs excitedly sniffing each new trail, I thought about present living. It seems to be everywhere right now for me. I’m reading a book about mindfulness in play therapy. I’ve had friends post about it on their Facebook pages. I keep running across quotes on Pinterest. Articles keep finding there way to me. I was at a conference this week where intentional living was the key note address.
This is a topic that enthralls me because I am by nature a doer. I love the experience, live for the next adventure, and enjoy trying anything new at least once. I’m one of the rare birds who actually enjoys change. I get bored easily and find it difficult to sit still. But in all that living, I often forget to weigh down those moments with my own presence. My brain is often on to the next thing before this experience is completed.
So, as I walked today, I tried to just “be.”
Instead of letting my mind organize the rest of the day or obsess over my 10-year-plan, I looked around and allowed my senses to do my thinking for me. It is late November, so the backdrop of all the world seems brown: dead trees, dead leaves on the ground, mud everywhere due to recent rain. The sky was overcast and the gray hung like a blanket tucking in all the brown. But it’s funny when you look … you notice. The shock of white mushrooms, the delicate purple berries, and the dancing green bushes in the breeze. The weather was mild and humid with just enough breeze to kiss the skin with coolness. The birds singing, my puppies panting, my sweet husband’s voice. All brought peace and joy to my heart.
The earth was grounding under my feet, the pressure of my husband’s hand holding mine was intimate and complete. And when I let my senses do the “thinking,” I let go and, for a while, truly lived.
In the past few past few years of my adult life, I have unlearned so much (another story for another day). At this point, about all I know for certain is that I’ll die one day. I’m not afraid of dying; I’ve made peace with it being inescapable; however, I want to live. Truly live. Every day.
So my challenge to myself is to walk every day for the next 365 days with the intent to be present. My hope is that quiet time with body moving surrounded by nature will produce insightful thoughts that lead to intentional living.
I suppose I will write these down … let’s see gentle reader, where life takes us ….