Palpable Joy: A November Gratitude Challenge

This post is a slightly modified excerpt of Woodland Manitou: To Be on Earth.

It’s Halloween in America.  If you’ve gone into any commercial establishment in the last few weeks, you’ve been bombarded with pumpkins of all sizes and materials, plastic decor of infinite variety, mountains of orange and black wrapped candy, and enough cheap costuming to clothe the entire country for a year.  The holiday season is about to begin in earnest as October gives way to the season of shopping, otherwise known as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Commercialism abounds, we get sucked into the frenzy even if we don’t like to shop, and good deals take our attention from being content with what we already have.  We eat too much too quickly and have more excuses than usual for why we can’t exercise.   For many of us, the holidays mean putting on weight, being stressed out, spending too much money and throwing in the towel until January.   Often times we are multi-tasking, working late to prepare for a few extra days off or packing frantically to visit the in-laws.  We get snippy with our children, our neighbors put up lights that are too bright and we hope the time goes quickly. It doesn’t feel like a time of celebration when culture calls the shots.  We forget to be mindful and live in the present.  Even in this season that’s supposed to be about thanksgiving, we forget to practice gratitude. Continue reading “Palpable Joy: A November Gratitude Challenge”

Glittering Mica

Yesterday evening it was my spouse’s turn to put our child to bed, so I snuck down to the lake and hauled our huge, green Old Town canoe over to the dock, determined to get a little time on the water after a long day of computer-based activities and schlepping around town.  It’s not an … Continue reading Glittering Mica

Lessons From a Singing 5 Year Old

“Hhhmmmm…..la la la la…….mmmm…..yeah, yeah yeah”

Silence.

30 seconds later:

“Ahhhhhhh, ah ah ah ah.  La la la la, la la la la la la.  Ah, ah ah ah ah ah ah.  The girl who has…everything.”

Silence.

15 seconds later.

“Joy to the world.   Ah ah ah ah ah ah ah..”

And so on.

This is the common soundtrack to our mornings.  My five year old almost always starts singing before she’s out of her bed after waking up in the morning.  She doesn’t discriminate with her choice of material – Disney songs, made up gibberish, hymns – anything is fair game and her repertoire is vast.  I don’t know that she even has a favorite song – singing is just something that brings her joy. Continue reading “Lessons From a Singing 5 Year Old”

Giving Energy and Paying Attention

There’s a difference between giving your energy to something and paying attention.  It can be hard to distinguish sometimes, since these days there are things screaming at us all the time to “look at me” and “pay attention to me” and so forth.  The media generally does whatever it needs to do to get people to take notice.  It is generally considered a good idea to keep up with what’s going on in the world, to be an informed citizen.  Etc.

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I’ve been struggling with an illness for the last 2-3 weeks – some days I wake up thinking, “oh yeah, today’s the day I’m not going to feel like coughing anymore” just to wake up, like I did this morning, at 3:30am with a cough that was just annoying enough to keep me from sleeping anymore.  I’m really tired, my five year old woke up crabby, and I let my energy go where it wasn’t helpful as I lamented not being able to go for the hike that I wanted to go on today.  The shadows were dark this morning, for myriad reasons.

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Continue reading “Giving Energy and Paying Attention”