Life in the First Person

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Life in the First Person

Where on earth do the days go? And what happened to all my good intentions? Weeks have gone by since I wrote a little something to you, and in that time I've had my first real vacation in several years, spent wonderful moments with my family, and watched a new year begin. And although it may be a bit belated, allow me to send you and those you love my warmest wishes for a healthy, connected, and peaceful 2012.

As I mentioned, my husband and I were fortunate enough to be able to take a real vacation to a place near the ocean--and in my humble opinion, anywhere near the ocean is about as close to paradise as it's possible to come on this earth. Even better, my 27-year-old son and his girlfriend joined us for a week, and we got to discover what fun it is to have great adult kids.

After a few days, however, I began to notice something interesting happening. We had a combined total of two iPads, four smart phones, one laptop, two digital cameras, and two iPods. The techno-gizmos were never out of reach and we laughed at the constant requests for photo ops--and it's wonderful to have those photos to share with others and to allow us to savor precious memories. I began to notice, however, that I was doing more sightseeing through my camera than I did with my eyes alone, and spending almost as much time posing people as I did talking to them. And I began to wonder: do you really experience life when you're occupied with merely recording it? 

So I shifted gears a bit. I made a point of sitting quietly and simply watching the scene in front of me, of breathing mindfully and allowing my eyes and heart to absorb what I was seeing. I paid attention to the quality of light--morning, mid-day, sunset--and the constant motion of the waves. I listened deeply to the sounds around me. And I did my best to focus on being present with those I love, to be less intent on getting a great photo than I was on feeling truly connected, to looking into their eyes and really hearing their voices. I am grateful for all my digital memories: but the moments I find myself recalling now with clarity are those I simply lived. 

There are so many distractions in life, many of them unavoidable. We work; we keep our homes and families running; we sleep and try to take care of ourselves. And we do our best to record moments with our children and those we love that we understand will never come again. But sometimes we just need to show up and live life in the first person, with no props and no distractions. We need to be fully, deeply present to our partners and to our children, and to trust our hearts and minds to remember what we need to remember. We need to breathe in this moment, and to let it be enough. 

As this new year progresses, take five minutes each and every day to breathe, to be, and to listen without interruption to each person in your family. Really listen, without rushing ahead in your mind to the next task on your agenda; gaze into your child's eyes, your partner's eyes, with full attention. Do your best to live life in the present tense; you'll have lots of time for looking backward later on.

| Posted by cheryl | Monday, January 16, 2012|


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