“All we have is the present moment. Focus on it; don't miss an experience by living outside of the current moment.” - Chris Shea
This time of the year, between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, is expected to typically be a time of joy, family gatherings, and the celebration of traditions. This is a time of the year when I reflect upon my childhood memories; memories filled with awe and wonder as the world seemed to be magical. Unfortunately, this time of the year is also one of increased stress due to all the activities we feel we need to do. Our wish to make this time of the year "perfect" increases our expectations, many of them unreasonable, causing us to overwork in our planning efforts.
"Preparing Christmas" Norman Rockwell
As a child I fondly recall watching the animated Christmas specials and reading all the Christmas books I could find. All of those stories not only have a positive ending, most of them depict a time of perfection. In these stories families gather and get along with each other, the house is majestically decorated, the dining room table set to rival the fanciest restaurant. My favorite American painter, Norman…Write comment (0 Comments)
"Don't spoil what you have by desiring what you don't have; but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for." —Epicurus
(Norman Rockwell "Traditional Thanksgiving")
Today, in the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday begun in 1789 by our first president, George Washington. In Washington's proclamation the president stated: "this is a day of national thanksgiving and prayer." It is a day for us to gather in remembrance and gratitude for all the blessings bestowed upon each of us, and for us, in prayer, to unite with our Creator as the one who has bestowed these blessings we now celebrate.
Thanksgiving traditionally begins that time of the year when we celebrate family, joy, peace and traditions as we head down the road to Christmas Day and later to New Year's Eve/day. During this time I recall those special moments shared as a child; and now, as an adult, I again see that same joy, wonder and amazement through the eyes of the children in the family, and now, in their children's eyes!
Remembering our past and viewing the present through the eyes of children hopefully returns us to a time when, in our innocence, we…Write comment (0 Comments)
Many of us in the United States turned back the hands of time early this morning. We have ended the period of Daylight Savings Time and are now on "normal", called "standard" time. Our ability to change time prompts a few questions for me, some mundane and some a bit more philosophical. But, to stay grounded I will refrain, for this post, from discussing the abstract philosophical notions of time. Rather, I would like to reflect on this day in two specific ways, namely, how do we take advantage of our "extra hour", and, how do we turn back the hands of time in our own lives.
I am certain many of us have had life experiences for which we have wished we could turn back time to change the events. There are times that we wish we could have back to cherish again, to say something different, do something different, or to have never had happen in the first place. But, regardless of our ability to change clocks, we do not yet have the ability to go back in time. Hence our personal feelings of resentment, disappointment, anger, sorrow, etc. But, all is not lost. Even though we cannot go back in…Write comment (1 Comment)
“Hey, did you see that?”
“No, I missed it. What was it?”
Does this conversation sound familiar? It sure does to me. My days were so busy and hectic that I had no time to care to notice something other than the task hand. At the end of each day I wondered where the day went! I had always lived that way, until recently.
A few years ago I changed jobs to one which allowed me to have the summer off. After 20 years of working year round, having a few months off was strange, and even unsettling. After a week without I had no idea what to do with myself. I was ”forced” to slow down. It wasn't comfortable at first, but over time I started to discover that I was physically, mentally, and spiritually slowing down. As I was slowing down I found myself feeling more peaceful. As the summer progressed I no longer was anxious, I didn't rush, and I began to notice the world around me.
I wasn't yet consciously aware of this, but I was beginning to live mindfully. As I slowed myself I focused my thoughts and attention to the present moment.…Write comment (0 Comments)
Fall scene in MA (credit: Blog author)
Way back in the 1980's I took this photo while I lived in a small town in western Massachusetts. Most people I know tend to get excited, perk up, prepare for, and are encouraged as Spring moves into Summer. Not that I don't like Summer, but for me, I do the same preparations for the beginning of Autumn. I must say, Autumn is by far my most favorite season (with Winter a close second). And now here we are, the first day of Autumn (officially starting at 10:21 am EDT)!
As far back as I can remember I have enjoyed Autumn. Growing up in the northern reaches of the US I am used to the colder seasons, probably part of the reason for my enjoyment of Autumn. Of all the seasons I find this one to be especially focused on family and God. During this season there are holidays, gatherings and the beginning of school. Halloween and Thanksgiving are near with Christmas not too far away. The cooler weather draws us closer together as we huddle indoors, and as we do so I hope we recognize the presence…Write comment (2 Comments)