Remember, step by step

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Research shows that we spend 46.9% of our waking hours thinking about something other than what we are actually doing, and that this typically leads to greater unhappiness. If we could remember to be with what is important, step by step, like walking on a beach, trusting in the present moment

Don’t worry about what you have not yet seen.

Don’t be concerned about the length of the road or about the destination.

Stick to the present

Ajahn Chah

photo: lies through a lens

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You gave your heart

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When your life looks back—
as it will, at itself, at you — what will it say?

Your life will carry you as it did always,
with ten fingers and both palms,
with horizontal ribs and upright spine,
with its filling and emptying heart,
that wanted only your own heart, emptying, filled, in return.
You gave it. What else could you do?

Jane Hirshfield, When Your life looks back

Remember, even in the ordinary things

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The word mindfulness comes from the word sati which is related to the verb “to remember”. We hold what is important in mind, remembering even in the ordinary seconds of the day.

These shriveled seeds we plant,
corn kernel, dried bean,
poke into loosened soil,
cover over with measured fingertips

These T-shirts we fold into
perfect white squares

These tortillas we slice and fry to crisp strips
This rich egg scrambled in a gray clay bowl

This bed whose covers I straighten
smoothing edges till blue quilt fits brown blanket
and nothing hangs out

This envelope I address
so the name balances like a cloud
in the center of sky

This page I type and retype
This table I dust till the scarred wood shines
This bundle of clothes I wash and hang and wash again
like flags we share, a country so close
no one needs to name it

The days are nouns: touch them
The hands are churches that worship the world

Naomi Shihab Nye, Daily

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Containers

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Small animals, if injured or afraid, can seek refuge in the strangest of places, looking for a container for their fears. For us, our containers tend to be in words and thoughts – the overall story we place our fears in or the words in which we place our trust.

All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them. But if we cannot find a way of telling our story, our story tells us – we dream these stories, we develop symptoms, or we find ourselves acting in ways we don’t understand.

Stephen Grotz, An Examined Life

Full life

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Listen, are you breathing just a little,

and calling it a life?

Mary Oliver, Have you ever tried to enter the Long Black Branches

The question before me, now that I
am old, is not how to be dead,
which I know from enough practice,
but how to be alive, as these worn
hills still tell, and some paintings
of Paul Cézanne, and this mere
singing wren, who thinks he’s alive
forever, this instant, and may be.

Wendell Berry, Sabbaths, 2001, VIII