Thursday, August 6, 2020

Finding the Moment

A beautiful hummingbird at rest

This morning, the hummingbird sat still. As I was on the deck drinking tea, I spotted out of the corner of my eye, the little beauty hovering near one of our feeders. I had just refilled it with a homemade concoction. It got closer, tasted its prize – once, twice and then it sat still.

Considering the energy of the hummingbird and the 80 beats per second required of those wings, it seems like an unusual thing to witness. The wings stopped, as it clung to the small plastic extension created just for this purpose. It was a peaceful moment; and I can’t help but think what it must be like for this miniature creature to finally get a chance to rest. I imagined this must be a celebrated moment to take a breath for this always-on-the-go bird.
I also realized, as this happen just a few feet away on the kitchen window, that I was taking a break as well. A break to wonder and admire what was in front of me. I unknowingly took a moment to breathe, took that moment to focus solely on one small, beautiful aspect of nature, and it felt unusual.
In these times, the unusual is anything that takes me out of the head space of worry, frustration and anger that appears to be a constant presence. The unusual is anything that I don’t intentionally do to take my mind off the pandemic, the social unrest and injustice so apparent today – like working heads down to produce something at work, going for a walk, making a special coffee or using social media to divert my attention to name a few.
This moment was a treasure. These moments, as small as they might be, are what we all need right now. With all the change happening in the world right now, these small things are what will help us to stay balanced.
Not everyone has a chance to see a hummingbird in a day, but everyone has a chance in the day to see something that makes them stop, for a moment, and breathe. It may be something in nature, like a beautiful cloud or a gentle breeze, it could be an unexpected find in your home of something you thought you’d lost, it could be a memory triggered by a song; it could be a thank you out of the blue from a co-worker.
All we need to do is be open to experiencing these moments. And when they occur, because they will, recognize them for what they are: an unexpected gift to you, a break from the world of worry or stress, a chance to breathe.
Imagine, all of us, taking a break, every day, for a moment.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Finding Gratitude In These Times

These days, it isn’t always easy to find gratitude, especially when facing our own individual challenges or, as is the case now, seeing and experiencing the anxieties and fears that come with a global pandemic and social unrest.
In these times, it’s more important than ever to find way to stay grounded and focused on what fills us with gratitude so that we may find balance in our lives.
This can be a daunting ask. When I am filled with frustration, anger and uncertainty, it’s difficult to feel grateful for what’s happening in my life. Especially for those activities where I spend much of my time, like my sometimes high-stress job.
I’ve found a key, though, that makes all the difference. Start small.
Instead of trying to feel grateful for a life that is dependent on 10- to 12-hour days spent in frustrating situations doing work that does not always feel aligned with what brings me joy, I focus on tea.
You see, since I’ve been sheltering in place, working from home, I try to have a cup of tea every morning. It’s green tea. I pour it in a cup that my daughter made when she was three. The cup comes with a saucer. I hold that cup and I am grateful. Grateful for her. Grateful for my wife who took her to the ceramics class and likely held the mug so my daughter could get her little painted fingers all over the cup. Grateful to be able to have a moment to think of them and enjoy the tea before starting my day.
The nice thing about starting small is it’s easy to find other small things that bring me joy: my dog stealing my shoe because she wants to play; standing in the middle of nature and accidentally capturing a beautiful image of trees above; spending time with family on a recent vacation that included visiting my youngest daughter’s college she’ll be attending in the fall. And yes, it’s the same daughter who designed my cup.
When you combine all these things, it is so clear how lucky I am and why I have so much to be grateful for no matter what may be happening in a given day or even in these times.
Sure, the fears, anxiety and frustrations still exist, but I have a touch stone of gratitude that is always there.
So what small things in your life are you grateful for so you can find balance?