A few weeks ago, toward the end of the monsoon season, I took a few minutes to go outside in my garden before stepping into the busy day ahead of me. It was a beautiful morning and everything dripped with the memory of the previous night’s storm. One of the huge sunflowers I’d planted in late spring took my breath away. Bowing humbly toward the earth, its wilting petals still held raindrops not yet ready to be released to the earth. I was glad I took time that morning to pause and breathe in this extraordinary sight, as I knew that later in the day it would be gone. And it was.
Our lives are filled with these moments we miss all the time. During this shifting season from summer to autumn, it seems like a good time to breathe in and pause before moving on to what is next. Here in the desert most of us are eager to leave behind the summer’s heat and enjoy the cool relief that autumn brings. Yet before transitioning to the season of pumpkins, changing leaves, and harvest celebrations, we have this opportunity to appreciate the bounty of our summer lives. Perhaps there was a special summer time shared with someone we love dearly, or an evening when the sky was lit up in purples and oranges that are only visible during the monsoon season. I like to offer gratitude to the all the plants in my garden that actually made it through August, especially those that continue to produce food for our table.
When we breathe in, there is a brief moment of stillness before the exhale. It’s like that point of perfect balance on the ferris wheel when the upward movement transitions downward. If we get into the habit of paying closer attention to these points of stillness, the potential for opening up to the fullness of our lives increases. It’s a way we can slow down, even momentarily, to be more fully present to our lives. I find this practice beneficial on several levels.
First, it allows a space to relax and find calmness when things get hectic. Secondly, any time I remember to have gratitude for the many gifts of my life, it always seems to balance out any feelings of being overwhelmed with challenges, stress, or responsibility. Finally, each time I return to the quiet stillness within myself I am reminded of the great blessing it is to be a human being living on Planet Earth. Like the sunflower bowing to the earth, raindrops clinging to the petals, our time here is limited and I want to savor as many of these moments as I can.