Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mindful Living

As I’m writing this, it’s a blue sky, cool morning in Washington. The fog of winter months has evaporated into joyous clear air of summer opening our vista across the bay and to the distant mountains on the Canadian border. The sparrows and finches flutter at each other above the feeder before settling to take turns. Early swallows feed on the wing.

And as I observe the activities of a natural world, I ask myself, what do I do without thinking about it, without due process but move on automatic pilot? What would change if I focused on the elements of a task, just for a few specks of time, to observe them as a child who is first learning?

The energies around me change their intensity, ebb and flow like the tide washing higher on the beach, hiding the small creatures busy finding food and avoiding becoming a meal. Energies that collect the fragments of me into a vessel to be of use. My energies also change as demands are placed on me by others or I decide that something has become necessary rather than optional.

Attempting rootedness in the moment frustrates me because as soon as I breathe in the moment, I must exhale and that chosen space of time has evaporated as quickly as fog. As much as I want to stay, my mental list of wonderful potential pulls me away, like walking an unruly puppy.

But I am grateful for the moment, for each breath as I take a last turn through our residents’ rooms, observing them sleep, the rise and fall of their blankets. I failed them in small ways through lack of energy or distraction. But also today I paused to glance out the front window to observe the hummingbird flit around the purple glass flame on its pole; I mindfully listened to the frustrated silence of people who have no choice but to internalize rather than risk garbled speech. We created moments of joy feeding our people with our their favorite food, hugs and conversation.

And I pause, mindful that I live as fully and with as much presence as I can manage at any given interval in my life. At the end of the day, that must be my peace.

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