Well, two months ago I chose a little word to help me focus my energy for the year. You can read more about it here. But yeah. My word is MINDFUL.
As the weeks have gone on, I have found it transitioning in my head a little. Most of the time it sounds a whole lot more like PAY ATTENTION. Because that's sometimes what I fail to do. I can get so caught up in this thing or that task or multitasking everything that I stop noticing what is right in front of me. And there are a couple of key things that keep popping up on this new radar of mine.
1. Food. It seems that everywhere I go and everyone I talk to is talking about healthful eating. I have immersed myself in reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and In Defense of Food. I have friends trying all sorts of changes in their diets. And I find it all so intriguing. There are definite changes I want to make, but I am not sure what I am willing to commit to at this point. It has alos been nice to get some affirmation that there are some things we are already doing right. And hey - the Portland Farmer's Market opens this weekend! So, it all boils down to wanting to make very conscious and deliberate choices about the way our family eats. Being mindful of how we fuel our bodies.
2. Slowing down. Currently I am reading a couple great books - In Praise of Slowness and Mitten Strings for God. Both focus on really slowing our pace. I find myself so caught up in doing all that I am "supposed" to do, that I don't enjoy or even remember any of it. Both of these reads are giving me the chance to reflect on the choices I make for my time and the freedom to let the unnecessary go. Heck - I may not even continue watching American Idol this season! It's that whole "life goes too quick to spend it doing things that don't matter to you" thing.
Being mindful is showing up in other ways in my life, too. Early last week I showed up to pick Max up from school. He was just coming in to work on an art project for the school auction, and burst into tears when he was sure he was leaving. Now, normally, I would have let him know that I was sorry he was disappointed, but it was time to go pick up Luke. But it just happened to be a day when I didn't have to rush off. And there was no reason he couldn't stay and work. So I sat down next to him at the table, and after instructions, he was off and cutting. I watched for a little while, and then went to talk with his teacher about a couple of resources I was interested in. When I announced (30 minutes later) that it was time to go, he readily agreed and gave me a huge hug. He even thanked me for letting him stay.
When I came to pick him up the next day, the art piece was finished - a large painted paper garden collage. And the petals that he cut for an orange flower were front and center. He was so proud, and I was reminded that slowing down and listening to him can make all the difference. At the auction the following night I had to bid on it - and we were lucky enough to win it! When Max sees it he sees the hard work of he and his friends. Luke sees a pretty picture.
But I see the great things that come from slowing down and being mindful.
12 hours ago