Friday, August 12, 2011

Paying Attention and Being Present

I pay attention to funny stuff.

I notice when my horoscope happens to be especially spot-on in its thoughts about my life. Often my daily devotional hits the nail on the head and really speaks to me. And often Leo Babauta's posts on ZenHabits blog just happen to be written for me.

Like this recent post. You can read it here.

Mindfulness. How to deal with all the overwhelming details and stress of the day to stop and focus. Simply be aware and interrupt the pattern. It's what Christine tells me to do... focus and breathe, she says. It's so easy for my thoughts to spin out of control and forget that I am wearing the ruby slippers I need to reconnect with my peace of mind.

It's how we teach HeartMath, too... heart focus, heart breathing...heart feeling.

My dad rides a Harley - in fact, he's had a motorcycle for nearly as long as I can remember. He and I talked the other day and he gushed over the ride he and his friends had that day. The weather was ideal. He was listening to his favorite music and enjoying the scenery along the two-lane highway through Iowa's countryside.

"It's a mechanical anti-depressant, Doone. (that's his name for me) I get on that bike and I am fully and completely in the moment. There's nothing like it."

As a newly single mom, my days can be extraordinarily busy with work, kids, keeping up the house and all my other activities. It takes a real effort to make time for myself and to not feel guilty about it. (Can I get an amen?)

If I simply ( focus and enjoy the moment for what it is, it does feed my spirit. For those of us who are so busy trying to do three things at once, this takes practice and allowing oneself a good deal of grace for not getting it right all the time. Because life is in our everyday moments, not something to always work toward, but finding joy in the warmth of the sun, the time spent with my kids at this moment, even the satisfaction of washing my dishes by hand. Noticing. Paying attention. Living in the moment.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summer's Turning

I've spent a lot of hours driving over the past couple of weeks and I have noticed that summer has turned. We've passed the point of accelerating into the peak of summer and have begun the downward turn that takes us to autumn. The vibrant shades of green are fading and tinged with brown. The cicadas, the harbinger of late summer started their sawing a few weeks ago.

The pile of new school supplies, backpack, and lunch box, the football shoes, the trainers, the fleece jacket bought on sale, and the Iowa State Fair are all pointing the way to the end of summer.

Today's view from the porch is the turning, the transition from one season to the next. It's been a very full and satisfying summer for us. My plan to put the big rocks in the jar back in May was important to do all the things we wanted to do. John went to Tennessee at the end of May. We traveled to the Black Hills in late June, enjoyed a family reunion, and just ended our annual summer trip to Minnesota. This summer, we learned many things about ourselves, about each other and about who we are as a family in the new way our family looks. It's a time of turning for us, too.