A vital, but often understated part of mindfulness practice is to slow down long enough to actually notice and appreciate the richness and meaning of what is before us in the present moment. If we pay attention with enough allowing in our heart, there is beauty, pathos and grace to be found in the mundane, in those everyday activities that we normally rush to finish in anticipation of something better round the corner.
So slow down, there’s no rush! When we rush, we miss the richness of our experience, moreover, the wholesome and poignant experiences of everyday life that are observed so elegantly in the poem below.
This was a day when nothing happened,
the children went off to school
without a murmur, remembering
their books, lunches, gloves.
All morning, the baby and I built block stacks
in the squares of light on the floor.
And lunch blended into naptime,
I cleaned out kitchen cupboards,
one of those jobs that never gets done,
then sat in a circle of sunlight
and drank ginger tea,
watched the birds at the feeder
jostle over lunch’s little scraps.
A pheasant strutted from the hedgerow,
preened and flashed his jeweled head.
Now a chicken roasts in the pan,
and the children return,
the murmur of their stories dappling the air.
I peel carrots and potatoes without paring my thumb.
We listen together for your wheels on the drive.
Grace before bread.
And at the table, actual conversation,
no bickering or pokes.
And then, the drift into homework.
The baby goes to his cars, drives them
along the sofa’s ridges and hills.
Leaning by the counter, we steal a long slow kiss,
tasting of coffee and cream.
The chicken’s diminished to skin & skeleton,
the moon to a comma, a sliver of white,
but this has been a day of grace
in the dead of winter,
the hard cold knuckle of the year,
a day that unwrapped itself
like an unexpected gift,
and the stars turn on,
into the winter night.
“Ordinary Life” by Barbara Crooker, from Ordinary Life. © By Line Press, 2001.
Image courtesy of Striatic