“Happiness, knowledge, not in another place but this place, not for another hour but this hour.” –Walt Whitman
So many wait to begin at the beginning; of the New Year, of the week, of the next perceived starting point. Yet what are we doing while waiting for that perfect moment? In some cases one actually undermines the future opportunity that lies ahead. How many times is a diet or exercise program preceded by splurging on rich food and indulging in couch time?
We put off, we set aside, we make poor choices with the promise of doing better; all common behaviors. Waiting for that perfect time to begin, so many hours and days are left languishing, sliding away, unused, unrecoverable. Many long for more time to follow pursuits that seem distant, yet killing time is a common device. More than any other benefit, mindfulness offers us more time. Each moment that we can maintain our mindful presence is one well used adding to the storehouse of experience, knowledge and memory. Arriving at one’s destination having seen each sight, breathed the scents of the place, with the feel of the swirling air of the present on one’s skin, the journey becomes a piece of us.
There are dozens of lists detailing how to make the most of one’s down time; waiting being so much a part of the many errands we run. Bring a book, write a list, call a friend; each useful and certainly productive. But could we not also add breathe, listen, look about, dip you hand in the fountain?
As this day of fresh starts becomes the next and the next, let us remember that we can wait until the next day or hour to become present in this moment. We are here, we are now, and the storehouses of our lives are filled to the brim with all there is when we give over each instant to mindfulness and intent.
“Never question the truth of what you fail to understand, for the world is filled with wonders.”―L. Frank Baum author of the “Oz” series
A sense of wonder has such a child-like characteristic to it, the very word evokes a vision of wide eyes, large smiles, standing on tip-toe, holding one’s breath. How often as adults do we tap into our sense of wonder? Wonder is magical and we become too jaded to experience that sense with any regularity. Caught up in the adult sense of “knowing” we begin to lose the openness and sheer joy that comes from experiencing wonder.
I recently read an article about extremophiles. Upon seeing the word I assumed it was about people who love the extreme; ones who would be good at reality television shows jumping off tall buildings onto a pile of pillows. But no, it is a class of organisms that live in the extremes of heat, cold and pressure where it was previously thought no life forms could exist. Digging deeper into the story, it describes an organism that has lived in a gas bubble in a crystal, and the crystal was fifty MILLION years old! The organism apparently had not developed any way to divide or reproduce because it did not need to. I continued to read filled with wonder. The upshot of the article was we are discovering an entire new classification of life here on this planet; the obvious usefulness of which is to guide us to look for life in places we believed it could not exist here or on any other planet.
To understand how and why these creatures came into existence is far beyond my grasp, but I do not deny the truth of their being. I am filled with awe and wonder at the things that are in our very midst and we are ignorant of their presence until someone with imagination and courage finds them. The world outside and within is teeming with the undiscovered and when we allow ourselves the freedom of the wonder of it all, we become open to the great mysteries and excitement of life.
Opening up to that which strikes us as unlikely if not impossible with an inquiring mind and a receptive heart creates an entirely new space to grow oneself. Tapping back into the sense of amazement at the world around us with a joyful sense of discovery feeds one’s creativity, imagination and freshens the perceptions of all that one believes and knows.
Let yourself believe for a moment in the magical, reclaim your sense of wonder, rediscover delight.
“Perfume, as we understand it, is the one thing that possesses the incredible ability to bridge the gap across time. Ex-lovers can be remembered, special events recalled and locations recollected, all in an instant, and all at the command of one single drop.” ~Olivier Durbano
The impact of scent on the psyche is a multi-billion dollar industry of aromatherapy, scented candles, perfumes and a myriad of other means to scent our world. And not without good cause. The right scent can be evocative, transporting one to another place in time; it can bring a sudden sweep of sadness or of joy.
With mindfulness we pay attention to our surroundings, and our relationship to them as well as our internal selves. But we can do more than just pay attention to our environment and the impact it has on us. We can create an environment that is soothing, brings feelings of peace, happiness and well-being. Tuning in to the sensory world and one’s personal response to it is yet another tool in becoming our best selves. Awareness of the effect that a particular smell or combination of aromas is the first step in finding the ones that give us the best response.
In aromatherapy, lavender is a favorite for creating a calming frame of mind. But not everyone responds to lavender in the same way and there are a variety of lavender-scented products with varied ingredients from the natural to the chemical copies. It takes time and trusting your nose and your heart to find the scents that bring you to the positive feelings you are trying to cultivate.
I find the smell of newly mown grass and fresh laundry make me want to jump out of bed in the morning; perhaps those smells mean sunshine to me. The bouquet of a good olive oil, a bunch of fresh basil, garlic just crushed, send me to the kitchen to cook, even when I am not the least bit hungry. Our lives are filled with aromas that tease us to action, color our mood, or carry us away. Finding the scents that bring you joy and infusing your life with them can turn a gray day sunny without giving it a single thought.
We are not really saving any daylight, right? So why this artificial clock changing routine twice a year? Worse yet, now I have several devices that change automatically and several that do not; the funny thing is even the auto setters can’t seem to agree on the exact time, each has a different minute setting. I feel like the March Hare racing around trying to set clocks close to the same time as the others. I imagine in some not too distant future my “smart” home will synchronize all the devices. Until then I believe it is somewhere between 8:30 and 8:40 AM. I do go by the earliest by the way.
Yesterday was successful on three fronts:
Overcoming fear to use a new tool and carry out a much-needed task – air compressor and tire inflation
Hard physical labor, reward – visual sense of accomplishment and physical exhaustion
Continuing routines that are healthy – food diary combined with healthful eating and exercise/meditation
Today I am committing to a creativity day. I’m bringing a large table up from the garage and will work on a couple of crafts projects and my Activity Box. I realized that I have collected clippings and such for a variety of activities and then they go in a folder in the file cabinet and are instantly forgotten. So I decided to decorate a plain file container that is fun and enticing and add these folders today and more I’m sure, as I go along:
I hope a cheerful looking box sitting out where I can see it will remind me that I have loads of fun right at my fingertips!
Nature note: the Juncos are back! I mistook their small bobbing black heads with tiny bright yellow beaks furiously bobbing up and down on the ground for butterflies last year when I first spotted them. They arrive in big flocks and only stay a short while before heading higher into the mountains for the summer; but their sweet peeping and flurry of activity are a joy on an almost spring morning.