This is a guest post from the mindful, gorgeous Sharon Rosen of Heart of Self Care.
It’s a heart shaped leaf that grows huge, sometimes to the size of my torso (or, presumably, an elephant’s ear). Today I took a picture of this tiny, newly unfurled leaf with a pool of water resting inside, an accumulation of raindrops from last night’s storm. What amazes me is that it would have been easy to overlook.
I was weeding, and focused on that task with a happy awareness that these bulbs had finally broken through and were growing. In fact, I almost knocked the leaf and let those precious drops of water, that world within a world, fall to the ground. But somehow the luminescence within the tender green cup caught my eye. It made me run inside to get my phone and capture its transient perfection with the camera. Then I knocked into it, spilling the water before I could set up for another shot.
This for me is the essence of mindfulness.
There is only one moment…then the next moment…then the next, unfolding whether we feel ready or not. If we pay attention, the whole world opens up to us. We can build a large, internal memory drive of snapshots that come alive because we have taken time to be truly present to them.
That is why photos move us so deeply, because they capture those moments with a stunning clarity and immediacy that lives on long past the actual moment. Looking at them, we become more mindful of where we are and where we are not. We get to relive precious moments even while acknowledging that they are no longer our actual reality. We get to rest in the paradox of now and then simultaneously coexisting. We get to share that precious now with others who were not there…
I am grateful that I got this one committed to an external memory drive, so I could share it and savor it and look closely again and again, reveling in the fresh newness of spring. I invite you to look again, right now. Did you notice the smaller drop, the almost imperceptible one resting on the tip of the leaf? I didn’t, the first time around: I was so dazzled by the reflections in the larger pool that even within that small space my vision fixated on one tiny portion.
That’s another amazing, paradoxical aspect of mindful awareness, the play of foreground and background. Even as I am writing this, my ears are taking in birdsong outside my window and my eyes are occasionally drawn to the late afternoon light making soft shadows on the curtain.
Being “in the moment” can contain all of the moment – it doesn’t mean shut out some things and focus only on others. But it does require me to pay exquisite attention, to pull my mind from the hamster wheel of thoughts that tend to run rampant and quick. It means inhabiting my body fully, ears engaged, eyes taking in light and color and the chaos of my desk even as I concentrate on these words. I feel my belly move up and down with the breath as it moves in and out. I slow down so I can be more efficient; now writing, now listening, now feeling, now looking, and back to this wordplay.
Mindfulness is a fluid dance of this…and now this…and now this.
It is remembering that the foreground and background are always mutually co-arising. It is what helps us to notice the tiny miracle of water drops on leaves, and to bask in their company. Sit back and take in your environment for a moment. Remove your eyes from the screen and let whatever is around you come into vivid relief. Check in with your body, the way your legs and butt feel on the chair, the flow of air in and out of your lungs, the aches and pains that might be present in shoulders or low back. Breathe into this perfect snapshot of a moment before going on to each next moment of your day.
Sharon Rosen was born to explore, integrate, and share a vast array of healing tools so she could help herself and everyone she meets learn how to deal effectively with stress, illness, and overwhelm. As a wellness coach, spiritual healer, and healthy living guide, Sharon is dedicated to showing heart-centered women how they can serve their families, jobs, and fellow humans without feeling depleted and exhausted. She knows that the world will never slow down, so the best thing she can do is teach people how to have a more satisfying ride… Her focus is always on evoking her clients’ innate ability to hold stress-in-balance and thrive in the midst of their crazy, busy lives. Her forthcoming book, Crazy World, Peaceful Heart: 6 Core Practices for Cultivating Joy and Resilience, is filled with tools and inspirations for how to do that, since stopping the world for even a moment is clearly not an option! Find out more and download your free Peaceful Heart Toolkit at www.heartofselfcare.com. She loves to connect and invites you to share any questions or insights at email@example.com or 973-768-8257.