I admit it, I talk out loud to myself. All the time. But recently, I’ve had to add an admonishment. Stop Rushing!
I’ll feel myself madly dashing from one thing to another, barely noticing what I'm doing because the next tasks beckon, pulling me forward: Don’t stop. Got to do this. Got to do that. Do it all and do it right now…
One afternoon, after I'd chastised myself, again, I very consciously did stop. I took deep breathes, and immediately felt my whole demeanor change.
I walked (well, let’s imagine I strolled, or better yet, sauntered) over to our dining room window, and literally stopped to smell the flowers. I inhaled in the sweet scent of paperwhites. I heard the fussy chatter of a Carolina wren. I noticed a pale female cardinal resting on the bare hickory branch.
I recalled what I knew about mindfulness. I began noticing what I was doing as I was doing it. I am watching the cardinal. I let all other thoughts, worries, concerns, stresses dissolve away. I am watching a cardinal.
I turned my gaze back indoors, and stopped to cherish the blooming Christmas cactus, the one Jonathan’s mother tended forever. She died last January, and the loss of her resides deeply in each of us. I stroked the bloom, and felt as though gratitude went both ways.
I knew I needed to listen to our Tibetan ringing bowl. I tapped its rim with the wooden dowel, and just stood, breathing, its tone filling me and calming me as it vibrated through the still air and slowly faded. I felt as though I were melting, and at the same time straightening. Melting away what I did not need. Lengthening into the person I wanted to be.
I continually have to keep reminding myself to slow down. I regularly have been ringing the bowl. Each day, as I approach the next task, I try to focus my attention more singularly.
At breakfast now, instead of reading the paper or checking my phone, I slow down to savor each bite of my morning waffles (oh, there will be a whole blog post on these soon. Stay tuned!). I notice the immediate comfort as the first sip of hot rooibos tea warms my core. I hear the wren chattering.
I want to remember to be mindful. Even on my busiest days, I want each moment to be its own.