Mindfulness

5 Aug

River-Runs-Through

“As for my father, I never knew whether he believed God was a mathematician but he certainly believed God could count and that only by picking up God’s rhythms were we able to regain power and beauty.”
Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It

We hear about mindfulness all the time. So many of us want to be more present, move more intentionally, find more calm in our daily lives, but where do we start?

My spiritual director suggested I pick a part of my daily ritual and start there. That way, habit is built in. So, for example, she challenged me to take the time to engage all the senses every time I am in the shower. Really smell the shampoo. Deeply notice the feel of the warm water between your shoulder blades. I have a small window high in my shower that I can look out of and take in the day, but water droplets are fun to look at, too. Listen to the hiss of the steam, the rhythm of the water coming into contact with the curtain. I have started this simple practice, and it works. I breathe deeply, and leave the shower calm, grateful, and renewed. And because I often shower in the morning, it sets a lens of mindfulness for the day.

One thing I am noticing after taking that first step is that calm is contagious. There are so many rhythms built into our existence that can have a calming effect on us if we choose to notice them. I have started to hear the sound of my breath more often throughout the day, which gives way to hearing my baby’s heartbeat when I hold him close.Those are there, always available to soothe and center, and the two together inspire the rhythm of my rocking and humming. That calm invites me to hear the rhythm of the small waves breaking on the sand at the lake, which opens my eyes to the cycle of the sun and the moon. If I choose to, I can sense, then, the calm in the repetition of morning coffee, daily washing dishes, bi-weekly folding laundry. And the flight patterns. And the seasons. It goes on. We have these soothing tools, these calming rhythms at our disposal. We just have to take that first step toward being aware enough to let them carry us through our day with a sense of lightness, beauty and tenderness.

Mindfulness takes commitment, discipline and practice. What comes with it, almost immediately, is a sense of God’s rhythms. Picking up God’s rhythms brings with it power and beauty indeed.

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