Full Stop

I have a morning routine. It’s not for everyone, but it works for me. I'm an early riser. This allows me to enjoy the time before the rest of the world wakes up. Some reading. Some writing. Some coffee.

I continue through my mental to-do list with looking at email and flicking on the TV news. My mind churns as I go through my list and get the day started. And as the morning progresses, my brain begins its incessant input. Consider what’s going on now. Judge what happened yesterday. Add to the list of what’s next.  

Today I woke up already tired, my head in a fog. Yesterday was a full day, but I didn’t realize how much focus it took to keep up with my never-ending-list of things to do. Along with the normal tasks, I had been working on a project. Although it wasn’t difficult, it did require lots of detail.

This morning, my brain told me it was just done.

But being a creature of habit, I got up and started the routine. Reading… Writing… Coffee… Until I decided to stop.

Full stop.

What happened then? The first thing I noticed was that it was still very quiet, so early in the morning. And that it wasn’t really quiet at all. It’s late spring as I write this. I'm finally able to open a window to let in a refreshing cool breeze.

Through that open window, I noticed that the air is filled with a polyphony of bird songs that I hear every day, but don’t really take the time to listen to. I noticed the gentle rustling of leaves. I noticed how much I appreciated being “in the moment.”

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I simply sat in the quiet of the morning, sipping coffee as I gazed at the trees outside. not concerned about what I should be doing. Not thinking about anything at all. Just grateful for being here.

I’ve felt this way a few times before now. At the ocean. While watching each of my newborn children while they were sleeping. I always have assumed that these were fleeting moments that I had no control over.

And I’ve gone through the process of meditating before. But meditation involved exercise on my part to make sure I was keeping focus and bringing my mind back to it when it wandered. This wasn’t that.

I decided to forget the rest of the world, and my mind allowed that to happen. I decided to slow down.

I decided.

Soon the rest of the world started to wake up, and the moment melted. The first thing I noticed when I started noticing again, was how refreshed I felt. It had been only about fifteen minutes or so, but my head was clear now. And I had the reboot that I needed to move on with my day.

This must be what true meditation feels like. To quiet my brain. To quiet my environment. To take a moment to simply exist and be grateful for it.

I want to be able to recreate that feeling, without having to fry my brain the day before to make it happen. 

Could it be as simple as deciding that I can? As simple as choosing to be peaceful?