Mindful in the moment?
Jim Elliot, a missionary martyred in the 1950's, once wrote,
"Wherever you are, be all there!
Live to the hilt every situation
you believe to be the will of God."
I try to practice mindfulness. It's calming to be able to savor the little beauties and epiphanies that come my way.
I recently walked out of my doctor's office and glanced across the street at the hospital parking lot. And a retention pond. Big deal, right? Wait. What?
Little beauty waiting for me. I take it where I can find it.
My eyes are attentive. I tune out the cars and asphalt and focus on the reflections of trees in the water. My feet are drawn across the street, down the bank for a closer look.
Two ducks glide around the pond, weaving in and out among the water plants. Do you see them there? They are attentive to me, too, and swim away in caution. I see upside down trees, rippling reflections on the glassy surface.
I walk quietly, not wanting to disturb the rhythms of nature. On the other end of the pond, I bend down to see clusters of orange and yellow composite flowers. I hear rustling around me. Squirrels in the tree are dropping something into the water. A frog plops in with a splash.
My ears are attentive, too. I can hear the whir and chirp of life there. I tune in to their music and switch my iPod camera to record mode. My camera is an extension of me, capturing my memories so I can continue to attend to the beauty.
This is what you would see driving by. Only a road with a yellow traffic line, a parking lot with cars, buildings. Unless, you are paying attention, that is.
That afternoon, in a Christian women's discussion group, our facilitator talks about being mindful as a way of building our spiritual strength and learning to rest in God's providence. I smile. I know this by heart. She hands us hard peppermints, with instructions to suck them slowly, not chewing. Too late. I've already crunched. It's a stress response, I know. But I press the remains tightly between tongue and palate, allowing them to dissolve. The next one I faithfully suck down to the slivers, mindful of the texture and flavor. There is always more to learn, even if we know. So...
Look. Listen. Taste. Feel. Smell. You were given five basic senses for a reason: to use them -- and to fully experience all that God has given us!
Think. Savor. Ponder. Wonder. Meditate. Enjoy. Appreciate. You were given a brain, a heart, a spiritual life for a reason: to use them -- and to thank God for all he has given us!
Want more on being mindful of Creation? Look at these photo essays:
- Cloud Conversation
- April Showers and Flowers
- Evening Nature Walk in the Neighborhood
- Morning Walk
Also, more food for thought....