Brene Brown

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Inspired by one of my favorite features of the Oprah magazine, the very beautiful “Breathing Space” spread, I thought I’d give us all an image to meditate on today. My husband took this photo several months back, just outside Regensberg, Germany, on the Danube.

Looking at it, I feel, well, quiet. Which is unusual. My mind is seldom a quiet place.

Recently, I was reading an interview–Gwyneth Paltrow having a conversation with mindfulness guru-turned-author Andy Puddicombe–where a meaningful idea came together for me.  He points out that if we’ve always had a busy mind, we may wonder whether it could ever be any different.  He goes on to say that busy minds often dwell on the past or the future and as a result never access the freedom that comes from settling into the present moment.  I thought about that, about where my thoughts seem to go when they’re picking up speed.  And guess what?–guilty!  I’m habitually in the future, trying to goal-set, plan, project forward.  Not bad, except . . . what about the moment I’m IN?

May I jump to our children for a moment?  My happiest moments with my kids involve just sinking into joy, to borrow a phrase from the amazing Brene Brown.  Today, on my way to the library four blocks away, I had a daughter on either arm.  There we were, the three of us, walking together to the library, joined at the elbows.  For a moment, my thoughts leaped to the future, and I wondered, “Will we always be this way?  Just strolling, our arms linked, our strides matching?” and I felt anxious.  Then I smiled as a wise little voice inside me said something almost exactly like this:  “Think about the way this feels, these girls’ arms intertwined with yours.  Just be here, with them, on this street, on this bright fall day.”  And for a brief moment, I heeded that voice.

Back to rivers.  Happy, the Danube, no?  A good place to breathe deeply.

And happy us, when we’re able to knit ourselves into the present, a place where children often await.

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