Walking Slowly

Today I found myself arriving early to an appointment.  I told myself just to enjoy the slow walk back to the room where I was to go.  I was surprised by what a hard time my legs had walking slowly, even though the notion of a peaceful 5 minute stroll was very appealing to my mind and heart.

“It’s okay,” I told my legs.  “You can just take it easy.  We have time.”

I eventually slowed down.

May we remember that it’s okay to slow down.

fresh air

Remember

What I want to say is, Remember. I remember. I honor those lost. I mourn with those who lost loved ones. I take a deep breath. I remember.

I am teaching my son about what happened on 9/11. We recently looked at some (appropriate) pictures and talked about that day. His father and I were married at the time (long before he was born), and I shared our story with my son. We lived in Manhattan at the time. I think/feel back to that day, those days, where I was in my life, how my husband at the time was almost on the subway (headed to his job that was in a building on the same power grid as building 7 of the WTC) when it happened but thankfully he stopped to see what was on the Today show before he walked out the door, the intensity of it all, calling my mother after the first plane hit before we knew what was even happening and telling her I was fine and asking her to call my grandmother (Gam, who I knew would have seen it and would be worried) and assure her I was ok, how we didn’t really breathe til much later that day when we were sure it was over, how we called each other, people we knew were in NYC, just to make sure we were alive, how quiet it was when I realized there were no planes allowed to fly anymore, how the next morning when I went outside for the first time, I heard a mother say to her children, “it’s ok now, the bad men are gone,” how when I went to the grocery store I was struck by the emptiness of the aisles because of course the food trucks good not get on and off the island (though we certainly had plenty of food), the flags I saw and took pictures of for weeks after, how proud I was of NY in the days, weeks, months after and the resilience I saw around me, the incredible kindness I saw and felt from so many people in the City…

I remember.

Every Day

I was talking with my son earlier about something I’m working on self-improvement-wise that he is invested in – which is very sweet and means a lot to me. I was telling him about something I did today toward that self-improvement mission, and I heard myself say to him, “One day at a time. That’s how we make change happen.”

And I was struck by my own words – not because I’m so wise and brilliant, but because while I know this intellectually, I also know sometimes I get so overwhelmed by the big picture of change that it’s crippling.  And even though I often live by (and encourage others to live by) the notion of “one hour at a time, one minute at a time if necessary,” for some reason it just struck my ear, mind, and heart differently today.

I think that was because it lifts up two things: the importance of a renewed daily commitment to change (which requires not only discipline but mindfulness and, to a certain extent, open-heartedness) – and it also offers up the chance to stop at the end of each day and acknowledge, “Hey. I did that. That was good. That felt good. That helped. Look at that. That happened today.” And it’s not about self-congratulations but rather encouragement, possibility, and hope – and again, mindfulness and being present to what happened that day.

I’m not Catholic, but I was very struck by Pope Francis’ words about peace in 2013: “True peace is not a balance of opposing forces. It is not a lovely ‘façade’ which conceals conflicts and divisions. Peace calls for daily commitment”.  I think it’s that same notion that moves me about effecting change.  And yes, certainly, as we’re working for change – and working for peace – working for anything that deeply matters to us, we hope and trust that over time, some behaviors will become intuitive and become part of our daily actions and feelings.  But if we want to grow, we have to keep revisiting what we strive for, what moves us, what we seek, how we seek to be part of this world.

Let us strive be present: to ourselves, to others, to the world around us.  And even if we don’t have it within ourselves to effect that change each day, if we’re still in touch with what we seek, that’s something very worthwhile.

May we find ways to show up, in whatever way we can, even in a diminished capacity, even just for a moment, and be present, one day at a time.