Wake Up and Come Alive Again

Sunlight on WaterLife is not lost by dying
Life is lost minute by minute
Day by dragging day
In all the small and uncaring ways       
Stephen Vincent Benet​
Today I am incredibly thankful to be awake and alive in my life. Over the past year, I found it difficult to come out of the instinctual auto-pilot that clicked into gear as a result of some unavoidable, life-altering crises. So many things that used to come naturally felt forced. And I felt sadness, but not quite to the point of despair…
… not to the point of despair. When I shared my prolonged sadness–(but not quite despair)–with a friend, she observed that my gratitude project probably impacted the way I experienced disorientation. Gratitude is the antitode to despair and scarcity. This daily practice held my head above water and helped me swim forward, even when I felt tired and unsure of myself. Although I lost my ability to articulate in writing, gratitude created space to breathe and to remember the tremendous blessings in the midst of the storm. Gratitude reminds me to wake up, come alive, and notice… see God right now, actively present in this very moment.

And so I noticed…

A friend sitting next to me. The crinkles around my husband’s grey-blue eyes. My son’s screechy, playful singing along to a silly song on the radio. My sister’s beautiful, handmade quilt. A fresh-roasted cup of coffee. A cold winter day. A warm cheese enchilada. My dear Egyptian friend showering me with encouragement. My daughter burying her head onto my shoulder as she cries. A fried chicken, finger-lickin’ lunch split with a friend. My grandfather’s gregarious, contagious laughter. My breath.

I noticed… and slowly, life began to seep back into the extremities… auto-pilot began to dissipate…

I listened to an inspiring interview recently with Ellen Langer who studies mindlessness at Harvard University where she talked about how the act of noticing brings zest back into our work life, marriage, parenting:

And so, mindfulness, for me, is the very simple process of actively noticing new things. When you actively notice new things that puts you in the present, makes you sensitive to context. As you’re noticing new things, it’s engaging. And it turns out, after a lot of research, that we find that it’s literally, not just figuratively, enlivening. Ellen Langer, On Being

Today I am grateful to be alive.

Wake Up

Do you have a body? Don’t sit on the porch!
Go out and walk in the rain!
If you are in love,
then why are you asleep?
Wake up, wake up!
You have slept millions and millions of years.
Why not wake up this morning?

Kabir

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