During the cold days of winter I received some sad news about a beloved relative. Thoughts of illness and treatment and worry crowded out space in my mind where happiness and joy usually reside. It felt strange to be with my children, because you really can’t fake silly or fun. I was as frozen as the ground, but knew I couldn’t stay there forever. My family needed me to come back to them, and to make peace with what is.
So I went for a long walk, in solitude, and I tucked my chin against the bitter wind that was trying to sting my cheeks. And there I saw them. Two feet! My two feet, actually. I watched one foot move in front of the other. I witnessed the motion that moved my body across the ground, and something began to shift and change within me. I was completely tuned in to my surroundings. The wind carried the sound of chimes from a nearby home, a brook babbled alongside my path and I watched a few small animals scurry about.
A wave of peace washed over me there in the urban greenway near my house. It was as if I was reborn into the next moment. A springtime miracle tucked inside of my heart.
I carry this secret with me now, this deep understanding that each moment brings the opportunity to change our thinking and our approach. The moments that follow always carry the possibility of peace and hope and renewal, should we choose to grab onto them.
As parents, especially, we are presented with this life lesson each day. Children challenge us to be patient and kind, even when patience and kindness seem far away. When we lose our way, our children call us back, and we are reminded of all the beauty we want to share with them in this life.
We can’t always clear our minds with a long brisk walk, but we can always turn our attention to the tiny details of life in the moment. We can pause at the sink and look out the window, we can watch our children with soft eyes as they play, really observing instead of letting the mind wander away, and we can forgive ourselves when the going is getting too tough and we make a mistake. We are all going to make mistakes. We are all going to face challenges. But it is what we choose to do in the next moment that holds the miracle.
As a Simplicity Parenting© Group Leader, Allison Abramson is helping families slow down and make space for the simple joys of childhood. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her husband and two little girls. You can read more about simplicity and mindfulness at her space.