All around you, they’re growing, like tiny blades of grass, if only you’ll stoop down to see them. Little moments of living mindfulness.
So come down for a moment, down from the seemingly lofty heights of ambition and theoretical knowledge and social matters. Drop out of the school of thought that teaches you there’s only one right way to be.
Drop down to earth (perhaps literally). Down to just yourself as a living being right here with other moments of aliveness running through you.
And, wherever you are, just be…
It’s an old story. Old as the hills. And yet new every time it tells itself again.
Have you heard it told to you lately?
The clouds have gathered, thick and dark, on your skies. They’re banked up and rolling heavy to your horizon. Maybe the rains have already started, pouring their grief over everything you know and soaking it all through with shadows. And then maybe the wind starts up. The lightning. It seems everything is going wrong at once.
It’s hard to imagine ever riding out this storm.
And yet, if the story has its way, there will come a moment. A moment you might not notice at first. A moment that can start out smaller than small. But it’s enough.
Enough to invite a shift – an infinitessimal shift – that’s almost no shift at all. Except that it is.
So something tiny changes.
And somehow that awakens the next little change.
Until, gradually, all these fragile moments come together – like countless particles of light converging – almost invisible on their own. But together, slowly, they can start to pull the temperature of your day in a warmer direction. Together, they start to matter.
On a day that started with torrential rain and umbrella wrestling (and weather forecasts of doom), it seemed almost miraculous to be able to stroll the street in a dry golden-blue-sky evening.
But that’s what happened. Unexpectedly. And it was exactly then that this notice on a shopfront window caught my eye (you can see it in the photo, above):
“All things must pass.”
(And they certainly seem to).
Sometimes this apparent truth about the world feels confronting. Unfair, even. Because these “things which must pass” inevitably include the things we love, and the things we celebrate. The things we might want to hold on to and never let go.
But they’re not the only things that this saying is on about…
I was winding my way through the early morning rush hour at the station, past crowds of people blurring by, when this strange little moment of stillness opened up.
And then I saw it: a lost sole.
(In the picture, above).
A visual metaphor, reminding me of the times I’ve felt a bit like a lost soul myself. Or the times I’ve spoken with clients in counselling who felt they’d lost touch with their sense of soul and the things that really mattered to them.
Have you ever felt that way?
Where maybe some part of you was lost?
Maybe covered over by sadness or grief?
Or buried alive under a pile of convention or expectation that you felt you “should” live up to?
Or maybe you just became so busy you gradually lost sight of it?
There are so many ways to lose touch with what really matters in your life – to let the everyday grind take over instead. Or to let habits or old thought patterns get in the way.
Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and reconnect with yourself. To remind yourself of what you want this life of yours to be all about. To find yourself again.
But how might you do that?
I came across a little piece of eternity the other day (there it is in the photo, above). Or, more precisely, it came across me. Tumbling towards me on the footpath. Blowin’ in the wind*.
Ok, so it was also just a loose page of a newspaper, blowing around the street, with an advertisement on it featuring a stone angel pointing towards a single word: “Eternity.”
Just a banal moment of dodging some floating flotsam on my way home. And a bit of a wake-up call.
What do you do when eternity comes barreling right down the street at you?
I picked it up. And could suddenly feel my heart beating. I took it with me.
What will you do with yours?
This little duck (in the photo, above) was swimming in the clouds in my local park this morning, rippling the upside-down sky in the pond.
It’s moments like these I want to remember to see. To live. To pause and breathe into in the midst of the day.
That’s about as close to a New Year’s Resolution as I got this year. Just to stop. To look. And to remember to see the small stuff.
And this morning there seemed plenty around to see: little crystalline moments of inexplicability that you can climb into and rest in if you just get down to their level.
Do you want that sometimes?
For many people I know (and for myself at times), 2011 has been quite a hard year. It’s held times of real challenge, times of worry, times of loss. Yet there were still beautiful bits that sparkled through it in the light.
Has it been that way for you?
As we all get ready to farewell 2011 and open a new calendar for 2012, perhaps it’s worth reviewing, for a moment, what we’re actually leaving behind. And what, if anything, you might like to carry forward with you into your future.
For there are clues written into this past year that can help you uncover what’s important and fulfilling to you, how to invite more of that in, and how you want to live your life.
Let’s take a look…
So much is unknown about this mystery we like to call “life.”
We have our theories and ideas about it, our values and beliefs that may help guide us through it, but watertight certainty about any of it is hard to find.
Except for one thing:
This is probably the only time your life will be lived.
Just think about that for a moment…
This is the only time when your unique talents and abilities and yearnings and experiences and even your pain can mix together in quite this way. It’s more than just the chance of a lifetime…
So it’s also probably the only time your dreams have a chance to be lived out in quite the way that you – and only you – could live them. So will you let them live?
Yep, it’s that time of year already – again. Welcome to the season that packs so much into itself:
It’s a complicated time of year…
So as you prepare yourself for whatever shades of the seasonal spectrum that you will face this time, maybe it’s work asking:
What will you give yourself this year?
(And you know I’m not talking about the material stuff here).
Or perhaps it’s easier to think about what you might like to receive from yourself?
I came home tired the other day – flat. Feeling the pressure of all the tasks I “should” be doing. Hearing the list of responsibilities that were calling my name. The weight of obligation over pleasure or rest.
When things start to feel like this, I tend to put my head down, my blinkers on and just keep ploughing through. It’s as though there’s no time to stop and breathe – that somehow I don’t “deserve” to just yet. And life turns into a dead to-do list or a string of endless homework.
Have you ever felt a bit like that?
The way it was just blossoming all over the place, white spilling out purple and yellow, literally brought me to my senses again.
It invited me to look closer:
• at its petals and patterns
• at this moment of light and colour and scent
• at life as it is just now.
So, in a way, it was mindfulness in action.
And that’s the thing about mindfulness. It’s nothing “special.” Yet it’s immensely potent. It can reconnect you to a sense of the sacred even in the middle of the mundane. It’s something you can tap into at any moment you like. And it can add untold fathoms of depth to even the flattest of days.