The poet, Mary Oliver's instruction to "pay attention, this is our endless and proper work," has always inspired my mindfulness practice.
In the small moments that feed our soul, staying open, alert and attentive to the gifts of the present remind us why we are here - to live, to love, to learn.
When we look without seeing, hear without listening, and feel without responding, we render ourselves incapable of bliss. Mary Oliver's threefold path to mindfulness is a call to action: " Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it."
Every day offers opportunities to let magic into our lives. There isn't a sunrise that fails to inspire us to breathe slower and expand with gratitude. Taking a few minutes to see, really see the person in front of us, noticing how they look, watching their body language to see how they feel, deepens empathy and connects us in meaningful ways.
It only takes a few minutes to open our consciousness to experience what the universe has to offer. Walking to work can be an unwinding moment to prepare for a new day. The commute home can be time spent releasing the tensions of work to arrive refreshed. Recharging our inner battery instead of expending our energy is a battle that we can win.
What gives life meaning is the capacity to be inspired each day. Philosopher Abraham Joshua Heschel said, "Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement, to get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted because everything is phenomenal, everything is incredible."
Living an inspired life is filled with astonishment that comes with simple joys. My moment of bliss was watching my mother's face light up on her birthday, as she held her great-grand twins in her arms after a recent stroke.
Every moment is precious and we have to drink it in with pleasure.
May the New Year inspire us to drink deeply from the cup of life.