Reading On The Stairs

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As I approach the one year anniversary of blogging (next week will be my 52nd weekly post), I marvel at how blogging has changed my life.  It has been my first attempt ever to stay consistent with my writing practice.  It has been my first attempt to regularly put my work “out there” in the public eye.  Blogging has required an entirely different depth of vulnerability than I have ever experienced before.

But more than any of that, I think blogging has fundamentally changed the way I view myself, my world, and the people around me, especially my children and my patients.  Writing on a regular basis has afforded me an opportunity to meaningfully reflect on the choices I am making on a daily basis.  But also, the anticipation of writing every week, sharpens my perspective…I examine my experiences more closely, tuning into the specific meaning and energy of daily moments.

I have been able to build entire blog posts around encounters that previously would have passed through me unexamined.

Yesterday, my seven year old son was sitting in his favorite place to read books, which happens to be a stair step halfway up our stairwell.  It looks entirely uncomfortable, but he brings a pile of books to the step and sits there, reading each book one by one, without any intention to move to the couch or his bed or some seemingly cozier spot.  I decided on a whim to join him on his step, sitting next to him as he flipped through the pages.

I didn’t bring a book of my own, but just read the pages he read.  We both silently read the pages to ourselves, as I looked over his shoulder.  We laughed at the funny parts but otherwise sat in peaceful silence together.  Eventually he leaned his head against my arm.  And then a little while later, he shifted around on the stair step until he was resting in my lap.

We sat there like that, the two of us, for almost thirty minutes, while all sorts of action continued swirling around us in the house.  Family rustling, dogs trotting, conversations happening.  And yet we were in a little oasis, a little bubble, just the two of us on that stair step.

For that moment, I was fully present with him.  Yes, there were a million things that needed to be done.  Yes, I felt the pull of my phone in my pocket.  Yes, I felt like I needed to get up and start rushing and cleaning and emailing and taking care of and cooking and putting away and so many other tasks that were vying for my energy.

But I relaxed into the moment with him in a way that I don’t think I have in a long time.  I enjoyed feeling the weight of his body in my lap.  I enjoyed listening to the empty sound of silence between us.  I admired how long and dark his eyelashes looked when his eyes were downturned.  A few times I reached out and touched his cheek, how his skin still felt like velvet under my fingertips.  I just allowed myself to surrender, the way that he surrendered.

I am not sure I can remember the last time I experienced a moment with all of me like that, so fully engaged and aware with all of my being.

The truth is, these times with him are not infinite in number.  There will come a day when he will also be busy, or he will brush my hand away, or perhaps prefer to spend his time with someone else.  And so for now, everything else can wait, because the paperwork and chores and phone and email will always want me like they do now.

But not my time time with him, at least this type of time.  This most certainly will come to an end.  The hours will become days will become months and years.  We will grow and have different types of conversations, touch in different ways.  More people will come into our world, and we will expand and grow beyond that step on the staircase.

Although I think I could be happy forever, just sitting there like that, loving so fully and feeling completely loved in return.

As we sat and read yesterday, a small writerly part of me knew that I would write about our time together on the blog.  And that knowledge somehow made me pay attention a little more, notice a little more.  It is sometimes our sense of the time limits and finite nature of our days that allows us to be more present.  And it is also sometimes our awareness that we are having an experience that deserves to be reflected upon a little more, shared with other people, that also allows us to be more present.

Blogging about mindfulness, then, has made me a little more mindful.  For that, I am grateful.

So today, and in the week ahead, I am simply aware of gratitude for my readers, all of you who take the time to read my posts every week, and for all of your encouragement and support.  You not only encourage me to continue writing, but you join me in the journey of living consciously and with intention.  Thank you.

Mindful Mondays

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