Category Archives: Mindfulness

Something Good

pdxfloor1. Wisdom from Mahatma Gandhi, “To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.”

2. 23 Pictures That Will Warm Your Cold, Dead Heart on Buzzfeed.

3. Feel Her from Julie Daley on Unabashedly Female.

4. Your dog isn’t being friendly. He’s an asshole. And so are you. from The Dog Snobs. Amen.

5. 10 Questions for Grace and Whit on A Design So Vast. This had me cracking up and crying. I hope Grace gets her dog.

6. Things to do after your dog has died from The Other End of The Leash. *sob*

7. Allison Mae Photography, Ansel & Tilda: July, in which Allison shares photos of her own dogs. She’s just so g o o d.

8. Here we are today {Just One Paragraph 8/30} from Christina Rosalie.

9. From Brave Girls Club,

Dear Beautiful Girl,

You are enough.

You have enough. You do enough. You think enough. You serve enough. You know enough.

So enough is enough, girlfriend. Pat yourself on the back, go take a hot bath, and let yourself chill for a while.

Sounds like you could use a little break from being so much of enough.

Just BE.

You are so wonderful, just the way you are. You are loved. xoxo


10. Wisdom from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”

11. Say I Love You Often, on Elephant Journal.

12. Wisdom from Seth Godin, in his post The opposite of anxiety,

I define non-clinical anxiety as, “experiencing failure in advance.” If you’re busy enacting a future that hasn’t happened yet, and amplifying the worst possible outcomes, it’s no wonder it’s difficult to ship that work.

13. 7 Simple Lessons From the Mat and My Life is too Complicated to Simplify from Be More With Less.

14. An Open Apology to All of My Weight Loss Clients from Iris Higgins.

15. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

It’s painful when you see how in spite of everything you continue in your neurosis; sometimes it has to wear itself out like an old shoe. However, refraining is very helpful as long as you don’t impose too authoritarian a voice on yourself. Refraining is not a New Year’s resolution, not a setup where you plan your next failure by saying, “I see what I do and I will never do it again,” and then you feel pretty bad when you do it again within the half hour.

Refraining comes about spontaneously when you see how your neurotic action works. You may say to yourself, “It would still feel good; it still looks like it would be fun,” but you refrain because you already know the chain reaction of misery that it sets off.

16. 6 Ways to Thwart an Off-Leash Dog Rushing You and Your Dog from Dogster.

17. More wisdom from Seth Godin, in his post Q&A: What works for websites today?

The only reason to build a website is to change someone. If you can’t tell me the change and you can’t tell me the someone, then you’re wasting your time.


18. More wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

Dear Beautiful Girl,

What are you willing to let go of today? Life is so much about knowing what to hold on to, and what to let go of…and having faith that it will all work out in the end.

Your heart and your gut know exactly what you need to let go of, even if your brain is giving you all sorts of reasons to clamp your fingers around it. There are seasons and times to have different things, relationships and situations in your life…and then the seasons change and it’s time to let go of many of those things. Change is hard….but change is absolutely necessary.

We’ve all got to let go of old habits, old situations, old behaviors and sometimes even old relationships to make room for what is meant for the next part of our lives. If we just get quiet, get brave, and listen very closely….our hearts will tell us what to let go of. This doesn’t mean it will be easy…it just means that it is what is meant for now.

You can do this. Listen to your heart. Be brave. You are loved. xoxo

19. An Inconvenient Hunger from Rachel Cole. (P.S. Registration for Rachel’s next session of Ease Hunting opens today!)

ease.button120. From Rowdy Kitten’s Happy Links list, Adventures of Traveling Cars by Kim Leuenberger.

21. From Positively Present Picks list: Sayings 2.0 and put this shirt on.

22. George Saunders’s Advice to Graduates. This is good advice for all of us.

23. From Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: Your Guide to Interacting with an Introvert, Why Stephen King Spends ‘Months and Even Years’ Writing Opening Sentences, Food Typography, and this video of Robert Downey Jr. singing Driven to Tears with Sting.

24. 5 Ways To Bring Mindfulness Into Everyday Life on Daily Good.

25. Jimmy Fallon, Robin Thicke & The Roots Sing “Blurred Lines” (w/ Classroom Instruments) on Elephant Journal.

26. New York photographer turns strangers into friends.

27. 8 Life Lessons From My Dog on Elephant Journal.

28. In the Midst of My Joy, I Wept from Thoughts Askance.


29. The Trauma of Being Alive by Mark Epstein.

Day of Rest

I went to the Farmer’s Market yesterday morning right when they opened to get strawberries from Garden Sweet, to be sure I got there before Amy ran out. They are so precious in Colorado, there are so few and the season so short, that we typically don’t waste them in a pie or jam, but rather eat them as they are, four boxes easily gone by the end of the day. We planted a small patch of our own strawberries this year, but they got too hot and didn’t all survive, and even if they did, it would be a few years before we’d produce enough ourselves to come even close to satisfying our hunger.

Strawberries are so much more than a fruit. For me, they embody my childhood, my home, where I came from, The Farm, Oregon, summertime. Growing up in the Willamette Valley, one of the first paid jobs a girl could get besides babysitting was picking strawberries. I don’t remember much about it, other than the early morning bus ride to the field, the wet bushes and muddy rows that would eventually dry out and warm up in the heat of the sun, getting paid by the flat, how at the end of the day you were sore and tired from squatting and bending and kneeling and reaching, crawling up and down the rows, and your fingers were stained with green and dirt and strawberry juice. I was allowed to use the money I earned for just about anything I wanted, and if I remember correctly (which I’ve been accused of not doing), the Sticky Fingers denim painter pants that were my uniform in the 6th grade were paid for with strawberry money.

strawberriesfarmersmarket

I first learned to pick strawberries in a field on my grandparents’ farm, The Farm. When I was only about 5 or 6, my cousin Christie and I would pick the same row, into the same basket, and when we had a certain amount, we were allowed to quit early, to go swimming in the pond or exploring in the woods. Grandpa always let us get away with not picking quite as much as we were supposed to, and with eating almost as much as we picked.

In Oregon in the summer, the most common restaurant dessert options are strawberry shortcake or marionberry cobbler. The closest I can get to marionberries in Colorado are frozen boysenberries (from Oregon) or something called a “Marion Blackberry” which are not marionberries at all. When I was growing up, I took for granted that the abundance of fruit was just what summer was like, anywhere. We had a Royal Anne cherry tree in our backyard, could pick and eat as many as we wanted, and my mom would can what we couldn’t eat fresh — we had so many it was possible to get sick of them. Now, I pay sometimes up to 6-8 dollars a pound, desperate for that remembered sweetness, and they are never as good. My Aunt Karen has so many marionberries that most years she is begging people to come pick them, to help her get rid of them.

blackberrybabies

I have newer berry memories too, from our time spend at Waldport, on the Oregon Coast. Mo’s Seafood has the best marionberry cobbler. The first summer we went, when Obi was only five months old, he found a patch of wild ones on our morning walk, picked and ate them all. We are usually there during berry season and there are three different farmer’s markets within driving distance three days a week, the berries are cheap, plentiful, and so delicious, and we are almost never without.

One year ago today, we were arriving at “our house,” beginning a month long stay. Not knowing when I can make the trip again (I’m most likely not leaving Colorado until Dexter is gone), makes me feel a particular kind of homesick. And yet, Eric and I have made a home here. We planted our own strawberry plants this year and yesterday, with some of the berries I got at the farmer’s market, Eric made me a strawberry pie, a dessert that comes from his family, has now become our tradition during berry season. I am content, happy here, in love with our little home and the place we live, and still, even though I am happily home, I am utterly homesick at the same time.

strawberrypie

This is how life is. A strawberry isn’t just a fruit, and yet in order to truly be content with life, we must put all our attention on it when we eat a strawberry, focus only on its essential strawberry nature, let go of the story we have to tell ourselves about it, and in this way we can truly taste it, fully experience its sweetness and its impermanence, as in the story Pema Chödrön shares,

There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs, and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.

Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life, it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.

Today, I am delighting in the preciousness. It seems like a good way to spend the day, to spend a life.

Wishcasting Wednesday

Nurture-the-Creative-Within

On this Wishcasting Wednesday, Jamie asks, “How do you wish to nurture the creative within?”

I wish to provide her space, the time and room to slow down and stretch out, look closely and contemplate, expand and play, twirl around or sit still in a deep, quiet, safe place all her own.

I wish to give her love, an unconditional sense of herself, brilliant and beautiful, wise and compassionate and powerful, seen and valued, precious and protected.

I wish to balance her effort with ease.

I wish to offer her gentleness, to quiet the critical, mean voices, to stop the pushing and smashing, to silence any “should” or “have to” or “can’t” or “not enough.”

I wish to provide her mindfulness, to allow her attention to be fully in the present moment, hands and heart on the same task.

I wish to practice with her, to show up regularly, to maintain a routine, a way of letting her fully touch the work, to repeat and retrace and revise and remember.

I wish to pause with her, because sometimes doing nothing is the exact thing to do, sometimes staying still to stare at your toes or the sky, to feel a soft furry body against the palm of your hand, to notice your breath going in and out is everything.

I wish to soften to allowing, letting go of resistance or rejection or grasping or pushing or hiding, and simply surrender to what is.

I wish to give her courage, the willingness to be vulnerable and weird, accepting the possibility of being wounded, practicing being brave, showing up and being seen.

I wish her to know and attend to her hunger, to not fear or deny her desire and longing, even when it has teeth, even when it rages, even when it wants what is impossible, even when it wants to love the whole world.

I wish to open her to joy, pure feeling, heart wide open, full of light and love.

I wish to surround her with all the tools and resources she needs to do her heart’s work.

I wish for her connection and community, a tribe of understanding and love and support, a collection of artists and healers and teachers, those with big hearts and amazing ideas and the ability to make her laugh until it hurts.

Wishcasting Wednesday

fieldofdreams03

Jamie is back wishcasting today, and asks “how do you wish to spend your days?” I want to live inside this question. I love thinking about how I want to spend my time, what I want to do and how I want to feel, but I especially love that my answer is so close to the life I am currently living.

I wish to spend my days…

Awake. In awareness, practicing mindfulness, doing yoga and meditating.

Present and open, deep in basic goodness — wisdom and compassion and strength and gentleness.

Spreading love, making peace, writing love letters, love bombing the whole world.

Expressing creativity and experiencing joy, manifesting love.

Writing while the birds sing outside my open window, fresh flowers on my desk and dogs sleeping at my feet.

Long walks by the river, at the park, in the mountains, noticing all the subtle shifts and changes in those places, connecting with the vibrant life that fills them.

fieldofdreams

Reading in a chair in the backyard, under the shade of a tree, under the vast blue sky, the soft grass under my bare feet and two dogs lounging nearby.

Caring for my home — doing laundry, cooking, washing dishes, sweeping, gardening, all of the things that make the space we live in feel clear and clean, beautiful and safe.

Making Eric laugh, caring for him, letting him love me.

Sleeping, getting enough rest.

Connecting with friends, making friends.

Laughing.

Writing, making art, teaching, being creative and curious, making offerings and being of service.

Easing suffering, in myself and the world.

Opening my heart to all of it — beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible.

Something Good (and a few confessions)

1. Radio Enso #73: Buddhist teacher and author Susan Piver. “In this in-depth and inspirational conversation, we’ll discuss meditation (what IS meditation?, misconceptions about it, etc.), Buddhism, dharma, The Open Heart Project, and Susan’s life journey from a young girl who was always seeking to her life as a teacher, author, and lifelong spiritual practitioner.”

2. How Change Can Save Your Life, from Positively Present. A really great discussion of change, which is inevitable. And, Mourning Sickness: 6 Steps for Coping with Loss, a beautiful contemplation on a brutal experience, in which she says,

Despite the sadness and pain, the true despair of losing a best friend, there is still beauty in life. The beauty of now doesn’t override from the pain of remembering what was, but it helps. Loss will never be painless, but we have some control over how much we suffer.

3. 10 Trust Habits to Support Your Next Scary Step, from Trust Tending with Kristin Noelle.

4. Marina Abramovic and Ulay.

Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in. When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.

At her 2010 MoMa retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, where she shared a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened.

5. These Aren’t Your Average Snapshots: Bill Gekas’ Portraits of His Daughter as Classic Paintings.

6. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, a super interesting TED Talk. And Chuck Wendig’s response on Terrible Minds, The Art of Asking: For Writers and Storytellers.

7. The Art of Reframing Difficult Emotions, on The Freedom Experiment.

8. Losing Your Mind and Finding Your Self, Ed and Deb Shapiro on The Huffington Post.

9. The Young Girl Who’s Best Friends with African Wildlife. A really fun set of pictures.

Born in Africa to French wildlife photographer parents, Tippi Degré had a most unusual childhood. The young girl grew up in the African desert and developed an uncommon bond with many untamed animals including a 28-year old African elephant named Abu, a leopard nicknamed J&B, lion cubs, giraffes, an Ostrich, a mongoose, crocodiles, a baby zebra, a cheetah, giant bullfrogs, and even a snake. Africa was her home for many years and Tippi became friends with the ferocious animals and tribespeople of Namibia. As a young child, the French girl said, “I don’t have friends here. Because I never see children. So the animals are my friends.”

10. Meditation And Mourning: 3 Obstacles to Successful Grieving, by Lodro Rinzler on The Huffington Post.

11. This quote, so important: “The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.” ~Chögyam Trungpa

12. Open Your Heart to Change the World, an older post from Susan Piver, but fundamental.

13. How I Got the Job and Lost Myself, from Liv Lane, (I confess, I sometimes feel this way about my paid work).

14. Ash Beckham at Ignite Boulder 20, a sane argument for not using the word “gay” as a pejorative, for acceptance rather than tolerance of gay people, (I confess, I love and accept gay people).

15. Book Porn: The 30 Best Places To Be If You Love Books(I confess, I am a bibliophile).

16. Flora Bowley post it notes, oh my, (I confess, I love post it notes).

17. She’s Worth It Fundraising Campaign. A more than worthy cause.

18. Pema Chödrön’s Three Bite Practice.

You can do this anytime you eat a meal. Before taking the first bite, just pause and think of those men and women of wisdom and mentally offer them your food. In this way, you connect with the virtue of devotion.

Before taking the second bite, pause and offer your food to all those who’ve been kind to you. This nurtures the virtues of gratitude and appreciation. The third bite is offered to those who are suffering: all the people and animals who are starving, or being tortured or neglected, without comfort or friends. Think, too, of all of us who suffer from aggression, craving, and indifference. This simple gesture awakens the virtue of compassion.

In this way—by relying on our teachers, our benefactors, and those in need—we gather the virtues of devotion, gratitude, and kindness.

19. When the Universe Has Been Listening All Along, a beautiful post from Christina Rosalie. Also from Christina, 35 Words, “A project with my friend Willow I are doing: 35 Words + an image every day for the year.”

20. The Burning HouseI knew about the book, but hadn’t heard of the blog until I read about it on SF Girl by Bay.

21. A quote from Goldie Hawn, “If we can just let go and trust that things will work out the way they’re supposed to, without trying to control the outcome, then we can begin to enjoy the moment more fully. The joy of the freedom it brings becomes more pleasurable than the experience itself,” (I confess, I can’t remember who originally shared this quote).

22. This quote from Barry Magid, (shared by Carry It Forward), “Happiness or enlightenment is not something that takes place in our brains. They are functions of a whole person living a whole life.”

23. And this quote from William Henry Channing, (shared by Patti Digh as a Daily Rock on 37 Days),

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common–this is my symphony.

24. Weight Loss and Recovery—Can they Coexist? Is Recovery Even Possible After So Long? I so appreciate Lori’s sane discussions of dis-ordered eating.

25. With Gratitude, Hope Growsa post about surrendering to the creative process, showing up and allowing what happens, written by Juliette Crane for Your Heart Makes a Difference.

26. Quote from Ram Daas,

The question we need to ask ourselves is whether there is any place we can stand in ourselves, where we can look at all that is happening around us without freaking out, where we can be quiet enough to hear our predicament, and where we can begin to find ways of acting that are at least not contributing to further destabilization.

27. A really good question from Rumi, “Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?” Why, indeed.

28. Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing, a great post by Rita on This (Sorta) Old Life which shares this quote,

we can’t do it all. but we can all do something… the path is set before us and we only need take a little step each day. soon we will look back and be amazed at how far we’ve come. and we can do it without sacrificing those things that matter most in our life and our heart: the main thing. keep the main thing the main thing. (from Grace Uncommon via Leilani at Tales of a Clyde Woman)

29. This quote from the brilliant Geneen Roth,

When I realized I didn’t have to keep “paying” for my life in pounds of suffering, there was a shift. I realized that living wasn’t about deserving, but allowing. Allowing myself to have what I already had. And each of us has so much all the time…

If, today, you made a commitment to allow yourself to have what you already have instead of constantly having to prove that you are worth it in the many ways we strive to prove ourselves, what would you see? What would you know? Can you allow yourselves to have the safety, the love, the beauty, the breath that you already have? Will you give yourself that much–now?

30. A grieving mom’s advice to the rest of us: Love purely, and take it easy, a beautiful and heartbreaking post from Emily Rapp.

31. This song has been in my head, A Thousand Tiny Pieces, from The Be Good Tanyas.

32. soundtrack to your life | rachel cole, in which Sas Petherick interviews Rachel, (the reason that song has been in my head).

33. When Your Work Life is Destroying Your Good Life, on Be More With Less.

34. This song is also in my head, Ellie Goulding – Dead In The Water (Live At iTunes Festival 2012)

35. Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling.

36. You can’t do any better (but you can feel better), from Marianne Elliott.

37. How Mindfulness Can Help You Discover What You Want to Do in Life, on Tiny Buddha.

38. Lowering Your Standardsa Daily Rock on 37 Days.

39. Minimalism, a post on Smalltopia.

40. Eight years, by Susannah Conway, a post on grief, healing, and tattoos.

41. Daily Happiness: 9 Simple Ways to Find it in Your Life, a post on the Positivity Blog, originally shared on Positively Present.

42. A quote by Lao Tzu, “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

43. Approximately 3 Minutes Inside The Head of My 2 Year Old by Jason Good. Funny, and I might be a two year old.

44. Observe These Hands, My Dear. from Guinevere Gets Sober, in which she says,

I watched the dogs chase each other in the snow and heard the robins singing—a sure bellwether of spring—and the happiness welled up a little bit in me because I was right there, just doing the next thing, and it’s those moments I feel no need to change myself, Fix Myself, do anything to myself to make myself different so other people will be OK with me and my actions. Actually it wasn’t happiness, it was just contentment. The opposite of “discontent.”

“Content”—the word comes from the Latin for contain or to hold. In those moments I feel held, safe.

45. This quote from Julia Cameron, “I love to write. Which isn’t to say that it’s always easy.” Amen.

There is Only Now

samatgreyrock

Eric took Sam hiking at Greyrock this morning. Dexter had coughed once last night, woke up around midnight and in my sleepy Mom mind was having trouble settling back down, so I got on the couch with him until he fell asleep. Then this morning, he coughed another time. Eric had planned to take him hiking again (they went yesterday), but we decided maybe Dexter shouldn’t go–even though we know that if Dexter had only one day left, he’d choose to spend it hiking rather than resting. Eric took both dogs on a short run before leaving with Sam. Dexter was so energized when they got back, so happy, watching so hopefully as Eric put things in his backpack, I almost changed my mind about him not going, but in the end he stayed with me.

Writing in my journal this morning after they left, I was considering the situation we are in. It was over a month ago when Dexter went on a hike, got a bloody nose, and I felt this same anxiety, thinking “this might be it, the last week, the final days” but I was wrong. What’s hard about a terminal illness is you are ready, waiting for it to be over, and yet you fear the end, wish it would never come. You suffer living with the mantra “he’s dying, he’s dying, he’s dying,” but you also feel a spike of anxiety and despair whenever something shifts, “oh no! he’s dying!”

It came to me in my morning meditation that the only answer is now, in this moment, in staying present. Nothing else works or makes sense–not numbing out, not running away, no method of escape or resistance, no hoping for something different or wishing for something better, no clinging to what’s positive or thinking only happy thoughts and rejecting the rest–you simply have to stay, be here now, live/love in this moment.

Presence and mindfulness and awareness are the only real medicine–the sound of my pen scratching on the paper, the thump and hum of the dryer, the sound of the dog asleep next to me breathing, the warmth and shelter and light, the ink in the pen and the blank pages in the journal and the air in my lungs, my body that remembers to pump and breathe without needing my interference, my bones and muscles doing what they do to keep me upright and writing, my eyes seeing, my brain processing language, knowing what word comes next and how to form it. This is all there is, and even it isn’t solid or fixed or even completely comprehensible. It shifts, gets a bit colder, the dog gets up and leaves, I pause not knowing what to say next. And then, the heat kicks on, the furnace hums, the dryer shuts off, and I know what to do.

dextersknee

I make plans, but they don’t work out. The plan to keep Dexter “safe” by keeping him home with me didn’t ultimately work. He was in the backyard, saw a squirrel and chased it. When I looked outside seconds later, his back end had given out. I didn’t see what had happened, so at first I wasn’t sure if he was having a stroke or something related to the cancer, or if he’d broken something. He continued to try and run after the squirrel, but his back legs wouldn’t cooperate.  His left leg wouldn’t straighten out or hold weight, so we headed immediately to the emergency vet.

Long story short: he’s injured his left knee. It’s either his knee cap, which is in the wrong place, or a tendon. He’s on pain medication for now, with strict orders to take it easy, and we will continue his anti-inflammatory as it’s one of the strongest available. We have a physical therapy appointment in the morning, and will meet to consult with his regular vet. Surgery in Dexter’s case, because of his cancer, just isn’t an option. The reality is, with Dexter’s age (he’s almost ten now) and activity level, something like this was likely to happen at some point, cancer or no cancer.

dexterslungsThere is good news. Dexter feels okay, although it annoys him his leg won’t work. We start physical therapy in the morning and there’s a good chance that will help him feel and function better. And while at the vet, they xrayed his chest, so we know that his cancer hasn’t metastasized to his lungs or heart. And even though I did cry a little, panic, and feel sad, and there was a bit of tenderness, terror in having to take care of it alone (Eric was still hiking, out of cellphone range), I didn’t freak out, I handled it. In the moment, something bad happened, but I knew what to do.

Any good energy you can spare my Dexter, kind and gentle reader, would be much appreciated.

Just One More Minute

bed

I slept in this morning. I typically get up at 4:30 a.m. every morning, weekdays and weekends, but there are some mornings when I just don’t want to get up, and I don’t have to, so I sleep in. All I have to do is say to Eric, “I’m staying in,” and he turns off the light, hustles the dogs out, takes care of their breakfast and Dexter’s medicine for me. When they are done eating, Sam (the baby of the family, but maybe the laziest of us all) comes back and gets in with me. This, the comfort of a dog sleeping next to me, makes it even easier to drift back to sleep, to stay in.

From time to time I wake up, always thinking to myself “just a few more minutes.” It’s so cozy and nice, and I don’t really have anywhere else I have to be right now. This “just a few more minutes” typically becomes at least two extra hours of sleep. On days like this, I’ll tease Eric if he takes a nap, saying I already took mine.

After I got up, I was thinking about this “just a few more minutes.” I was thinking about all the other places this manifests. I remember every kid I’ve ever known begging for a few more minutes of play, just one more half hour of TV, just one more book, just one more cookie. I was thinking of the other ways it comes up for me, just one more bite, just one more page, just one more mile, just one more episode of whatever show is on HGTV as I ride the elliptical at the gym, just one more day. Grief arises as I think of those I’ve lost, how we both wished for more time, another day, another moment, just a few more minutes here together, how those lives were over too soon, how there was so much more living and loving to do, how hard I prayed that they be given more time, how angry and hurt I still am that it was denied.

fieldofgrass

This is where we live our lives, in these few minutes. If we are lucky, we have a succession of them, minute after minute, moment after moment, but our experience is only in this single, small measure of time. One breath, one beat of the heart, one flash of experience, one chance, one kind act, one moment of connection and compassion. We long for there to be another that follows it, but the wisdom that lives deep in our soft animal belly knows that we must savor this one, the one just now, to squeeze everything out of it we can, to really see it, to notice, to open our heart to it, because this is all we can be sure of. In this moment, we can know that we are here, we can be here, brave and open and vulnerable and tenderhearted.

What do you plan to do with your one minute, kind and gentle reader?

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
~From Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day