Late Spring 2014 -- Seeing More Clearly

Dear Friends

Sometimes I think I must be crazy to want to get up so early, but my alarm goes off nearly every weekday at 4:45 a.m. Minutes later, I am out the door to take my walk. I love being awake at that hour — up and about as the sky turns from black to a fragile blue. Occasionally a bird will sing and I realize that up until now the pre-dawn has been perfectly silent and that this is the first birdsong of the day — and I've had the good fortune to hear it!

I notice these things on my good days. To be honest, most of the time I am preoccupied with any number of issues of questionable import — from a shoelace that's a bit too long to when I'm going to find time to prune the rosebush. When I do slow down and simply reach out to hold the new day with all of my senses, I am always happy that I did. It never ceases to amaze me just how challenging that slowing down truly is!

Not too long ago, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk, was conducting a retreat on the college campus right across the street from where I live. One morning during this time, I decided to take my walk through the campus, for a change. It was as dark and as quiet as any other Tuesday at 4:55 a.m. My legs and my mind were going a mile a minute. As I turned a corner, I found myself barreling full speed into a group of about 200 monks and retreat attendees inching toward me, doing their walking meditation.

Now, if you have never seen a Buddhist walking meditation I don't think you can possibly understand how slow walking can truly be. It makes taking a stroll with a 15-month-old toddler who wants to investigate every pebble seem like a sprint! The stillness and peace that emanated from these people took my breath away. Just being in their presence was healing for me — if only because seeing them short-circuited my morning;s mad dash. I yearned to join them, but instead kept going until I rounded a nearby corner. I needed to find out if I could do this, myself. So, in the silence of the still-dark morning, I came to a dead stop, then oh-so-slowly put one foot in front of the other, and attempted to empty my mind of its chatter.

I'm horrified to say I lasted less than a minute. The too-long shoelace or the scraggly rosebush — or whatever it was that morning — quickly got my attention and my legs sped up to the pace they are used to in the pre-dawn. I have to admit it is not good news that I found it impossible to come to a near standstill of body and mind and simply be. But simply learning how difficult that was for me was a gift in and of itself, for I understood in a profound way just how intentional the act of slowing down is.

In these confusing times, when we find ourselves re-evaluating, re-prioritizing, and yearning to tap into that which is truly priceless, may we see more clearly. May we understand that in slowing down we literally create space — space that holds each of our experiences in a way that acknowledges its preciousness, its gifts.

Other Issues:
From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- The Art of Imperfection

From our archives -- Saddle Up

From our archives -- Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Early Summer 2014 -- Embracing our Dormant Times

From our archives -- Taking Time to Listen

Spring 2014 -- Savor What Makes Your Heart Sing

Early Spring 2014 -- The Power of Quotes

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

From our archives -- Break Away from the Herd

Holiday 2013 -- Taking the Time to Listen

Holiday 2013 -- Open our Hearts to the Good Around Us

Fall 2013 -- How to Cope in Tough Times

Late Summer 2013 - The Priceless Gift of Friendship

Midsummer 2013 -- My Luck is Pretty Good Luck

Early Summer 2013 -- Slow Down Enough to Smile

Late Spring 2013 -- Recognizing Gifts

Spring 2013 -- Doing the Best We Can

Early Spring 2013 -- Know Where You're Going

Holiday 2012 -- Our Power to Adapt

Fall 2012 -- Gratitude for What We Have

Early Fall 2012 -- See the Beauty in Front of Us

Late Summer 2012 -- Modify So It Works for You

Summer 2012 -- Finding Balance

Early Summer 2012 -- Go Ahead and Take that Risk!

Late Spring 2012 - Trusting Your Gut

Spring 2012 - Living Life to the Fullest

Early Spring 2012 - New Year, No Excuses

Winter 2011 - A Thoughtful Tip

Holiday 2011 - How Did I Get Here?

Fall 2011 - Giving Thanks for What We Already Have

Late Summer 2011 - Taking Ourselves Off Automatic

Midsummer 2011 - Friends Through Thick and Thin

Early Summer 2011 - The Power of Nice

Late Spring 2011 - The Gifts of Spring

Spring 2011 - Worst Case Scenario

Early Spring 2011 - Break Away From the Herd

Winter 2010 - Lessons From Feral Kitty

Holiday 2010 - The Art of Imperfection

Fall 2010 - When the Student is Ready...

Late Summer 2010 - Saddle Up

Midsummer 2010 - Hurry Up and Wait

Early Summer 2010 - Don't Just Stand There. Do Something!

Late Spring 2010 - Gifts From My Mother

Spring 2010 - Taking That First Step

Early Spring 2010 - I Think it's Time

Winter 2009 - Choose Love, Not Fear

Holiday 2009 - Paying it Forward

Fall 2009 - You're Not Alone

Late Summer 2009 - "Searching" for Peace

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