Greetings and Hello February!
January seemed to fly by and for some reason I have always felt like February was the longest month of the year even though it has the fewest days! Maybe it’s because I start looking for signs of Spring way too early and I’m anticipating working in my flower gardens. So, this year I am going to pay attention to February and let February be what it is…a time to slow down a bit because we are in between the frenzy of the Christmas Holidays and anticipation of Easter and Spring weather. Today we hear a lot about mindfulness. About living in the moment and being mindful about what you see, feel and experience right now, in this instant. Well for some of us with the attention span of a gnat, that is as big a mystery as meditating for 30 min.. We can’t just simply stop and not pay attention to all those thoughts and worries that just go in and out of mind at will and may even stop for a game of the zoomies while in our head! In one of my daily readings the author was talking about slowing down because we live in a culture where “we are all so high-paced, running so fast to where we want to be, that many of us are forced to slow down, through illness or breakage.” He goes on to say: “In this, we are such funny creatures. If we could see ourselves from far enough away, we would seem like a colony of insects running into things repeatedly: thousands of little determined beings butting into obstacles, shaking our little heads and bodies, and running into things again.” I find this to be true as well as very amusing. And, it’s not just a problem with people still in the work force or raising children. I know many of you who are retired and you talk about how much busier you are now than when you were working! We tend to add more and more to our lives, including taking on emotional responsibility and worry for those we care about. You don’t have to be running from appointment to meeting to social events to be overloaded and unable to find a moment of rest.
So how can we find that space to just be in the moment, to be mindful, to just be? First of all, it’s really not about a dedicated space of time you have to pencil in your schedule. Technically, according to Google, a moment is an average length of 90 seconds. And, that should be achievable by anyone. So I want to share how to be mindful in the moment, how to practice this slowing down in February to nourish your heart and mind and soul. Too often people think of prayer and time with God as a dedicated time to offer all of our all encompassing prayers to God either in the morning or at night before we go to sleep. But then we feel guilty because we couldn’t stay awake or we were maybe even too tired to think of everything we stored up all day. So, I find that offering ‘prayers of noticing’ are much more effective of bringing me into the awareness of God’s presence and ever present grace as well as making me mindful of what is around me. It’s simply about noticing. What do you notice during the day that catches your attention, brings a smile to your face, breaks your heart? Is it a snowflake, the sparkle in ice covered trees? Is it a tiny bubble that escaped the body wash bottle or the cardinal that rested for a moment outside your window? Is it a photo of a family gathering? A sound or a scent that triggers a time in the past? Is it a meal your spouse prepared? The tilt of her head, the touch of his hand? Is it the helicopter that just flew over your house, probably with a patient on board? Is it a news event that caught your attention? In every one of those ‘moments’ that something caught your attention, there is an opportunity that invites you to be ‘mindful’ of that one brief encounter of your day…a moment to pause and a moment pray. There are so many ways we can pray during the day — as we cook, as we walk, as we drive, as we catch a news event, as we work, as we meet people, as we enjoy the company of a pet or look out at God’s creative beauty and yes, even when we get frustrated with our family. The goal of prayer is to enter into the presence of God, share our hearts before God and listen for how God may be speaking to us. This can happen just about anywhere, at any time, while doing anything; simple prayers are heard by God. You don’t have to have lofty words, dedicated time or meditative skills. So don’t wait, the perfect time to pause and pray will never come but the moments of your life are right before you all the time. Celebrate them and share them with God. He is anxious to hear about your day. I pray that February will be a time for you to slow down one moment at a time and rest in the gracious presence of our loving God.